Los Lonely Boys
Live at Blue Cat Blues
(Blue Cat Blues)
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2006, Volume 13, #6
Written by John Metzger
Live at Blue Cat Blues was recorded three years prior to the release of Los Lonely Boys’ hugely successful self-titled debut, and it effectively showcases the Texas-born trio in all of its ragged, bar-band glory. Earlier on the day of the show, the grandmother of brothers Henry, Ringo, and JoJo Garza had passed away, and not surprisingly, their unadulterated emotions seeped heavily into the set. Lurking beneath the surface of the material are hints of the soulful polish that has stifled much of Los Lonely Boys’ studio pursuits, but the majority of Live at Blue Cat Blues is as steeped in the enthusiasm of early rock ’n‘ roll as it is in the raw firepower of the blues. Throughout the endeavor, it’s guitarist Henry Garza who routinely puts a charge into the group’s sojourns, energizing the funky groove of I’m the Man to Beat as well as the shuffling I’m Gone. Granted, the ensemble’s influences remain readily apparent — Friday Night co-opts Little Richard’s Long Tall Sally, Dime Mi Amour draws from Los Lobos, and the spirit of Stevie Ray Vaughan weighs heavily upon nearly every track on the outing — but what Los Lonely Boys lacks in originality is countered by its convincing delivery. Even better, when the band fully succumbs to its songs — as it does on Cottonfields and Crossroads, a sprawling, slow-boiling ode to the state that it calls home — it immediately becomes apparent as to what influential proponents like Willie Nelson recognized in the outfit. Although Live at Blue Cat Blues might not be the best that Los Lonely Boys has to offer, it provides further proof that the collective’s potential is immeasurably immense.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box