2021 Song Draft- Round 4 Pick 12- Aphoristical selects- . Los Lobos – La Pistola y El Corazón
It’s perhaps a little counterintuitive to include a band from the USA in my draft of non-English songs, but Los Lobos qualify. “The Wolves” always feel perpetually under-rated – despite having a richer back-catalogue than almost any other American band, they’re basically one-hit wonders to many, remembered for their cover of Ritchie Valens’ ‘La Bamba’. Formed in east L.A. in the early 1970s, they represent a cross-pollination of cultures, singing in both English and Spanish, and dabbling in a wide range of American music traditions.
‘La Pistola y El Corazón’ is the title track of their 1988 EP, Spanish for “The Pistol and the Heart”. The record’s notable for its cover painting; in 1999 it placed in a Rolling Stone list of 100 best album covers, while the original painting was owned by Madonna before it was lost in a house fire. La Pistola y El Corazón focuses on one aspect of the group’s sound: Tejano/Mariachi folk music.
While the album is mostly covers, including traditional songs, ‘La Pistola’ is an original, with David Hidalgo on lead vocals. Hidalgo is also on accordion, while Cesar Rosas plays the huapanguera, an eight-stringed Mexican instrument that’s like a larger acoustic guitar. Conrad Lozano is on guitarron, a large acoustic guitar instrument for bass, while Louie Pérez is on jarana.
Los Lobos’ catalogue is full of delights – 1992’s Kiko is a terrific album – it’s worth exploring, and this traditional-style Mexican song just shows one of their many facets.