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CD of the Week – Damas y Caballeros Los Straitjackets!

May 3, 2007

Take four professional caliber musicians, a ton of manic energy, twangy guitars, tons of reverb, the belief that Link Wray and the Ventures were the coolest humans to walk the earth, Mexican wrestling masks (Lucha Libre!), Spanglish stage banter, and a completely wacked-out sense of humor (as if that weren’t obvious) and what do you get?

You get Los Straitjackets! Man, I can’t explain it but I love these guys. I have only two full albums by them – this one, a live disc from 2001 and Rock En Español, Vol. 1, their latest (it features vocals from Big Sandy of the Fly-Rite Boys and is produced by Cesar Rosas from Los Lobos. I don’t know why, but rock and roll in any language other than English is endlessly fascinating and kind of funny to me. I love the German language singles by the Beatles.)

Some instrumental rock is quite boring, but this is energetic and fun. I can’t help but love Los Straitjackets’ take on “My Heart Must Go On,” the love theme from Titanic. The drums and bassline are ripped straight from The Tornados’ Telstar. Oh, if only Jack could’ve surfed!

I can’t stop listening to these guys. The humor and energy they pour into this music is infectious. It makes me want to get a sunburst Fender Jazzmaster and a Deluxe Reverb amp, a wrestling mask, and a rhythm section. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can effectively surf on the Mississippi or Ohio Rivers, so I’m outta luck there.

Ah, well. I’ll just do what I always do – open up the sunroof, crank up the volume, and enjoy the sunshine. And hopefully pick up a few guitar licks along the way.

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