The Blazers,
Puro Blazers
(Rounder, 2000)

The surging popularity of Spanish music is luring some pop artists to opportunistically discover their Latino roots with mixed results.

The Blazers, a Los Angeles-based band with many danceable beats, demonstrate their years of deeply-embedded roots with their first all-Spanish album, Puro Blazers. The songs are somewhat repetitive but always lively. The first two cumbias, "El Mochilón" and "Cumbia de la Carretera," evoke images of vibrant and sultry dancing in the moonlight.

"Grande de Caderas," on the silly topic of large hips, boasts a hopping, happy melody. This song is also one of the few without complete translations to English -- though the other translations usually only remind the listener that the lyrics are rather absurd, such as "Coco Rayado," about "That coconut that Lupe wants." In most cases, it's better to enjoy the unbounded energy of the music without knowing what The Blazers are actually singing.

"Vieja Escalera" is a polka lover's -- and accordion lover's -- dream. "Mi Sombrero Alón," another traveler's cumbia, includes the translated words, "I'm feeling suave," and the music certainly concurs. The final track, "Libro Abierto," adds the perfect last dance, loving and lingering.

The Blazers include Rubén Guaderrama on vocals, guitars, requinto romantico, tres, bass and percussion; Manuel Gonzales on vocals, guitars, baja sexto, orchestral accordion, bass and percussion; Jesus Cuevas on vocals, button accordion and bass; and Mike Molina on drums.

The Blazers may have simple lyrics and an abundance of repetition, but I can imagine them filling a dance floor and keeping the party going into the morning with those seductive cumbias on Puro Blazers.

[ by Julie Bowerman ]

Buy Puro Blazers from