Louie And The Lovers
Louie Ortega - Guitar,Vocals
Frank Paredes - Guitar,Bass,vocals
Steve Vargas - Bass,Keyboards,Vocals
Albert Parra - Drums
John Rendon - Guitar,Vocals
Click on the song titles below to hear that song!
Louie and the Lovers from Salinas, California put out one album, discovered and produced by the legendary Doug Sahm during his exile from Texas. Rise was such a strong album, a startling blend of the San Francisco sound, Chicano music, and Tex-Mex country rock, it became an easy target for collectors. Rarer, however, was the fabled follow-up album, lost in a fire save for one cassette and unreleased until Bear Family’s recent offering, Louie and the Lovers, The Complete Recordings.
For a bunch of teenagers recording their first album in one 18-hour session, Rise is a surprisingly solid set of tunes, with a sound as fresh as any of their west coast contemporaries, consistently fine song craft (9 of 11 tracks penned by Louie Ortega), and fantastic vocal performances throughout. You can hear the Lovers’ innocent enthusiasm chiming through electric rhythm guitars and the band’s raw energy is infectious. The Lovers were admittedly influenced by CCR, an unavoidable comparison, but Louie also name checks Webb Pierce, Lefty Frizzell, and Jorge Negrete as early influences on his songwriting.
Rise starts with a bang, the eponymous lead-off track taking off with guitar hook assaults and soaring vocal harmonies. The album’s slower numbers are some of the record’s best: “I’ve Always Got You On My Mind” is a serious earworm and “Driver Go Slow” is a sparse and haunting murder ballad. Upbeat rockers like “Royal Oakie” and “I Know You Know” should have been radio hits, at least in Texas. The album is a powerful grower, its melodies sinking in deep after a few listens, but unfortunately Rise was destined for obscurity.
The Lovers were given a shot at recording a second album, this time featuring production from Doug Sahm, Jerry Wexler, and Tom Dowd, along with help from new guitarist John Rendon, steel guitarist Charlie Owens, horn player David ‘Fathead’ Newman, Dr. John on keys, percussionist Joe Lala, and Flaco Jimenez on Conjunto accordion. The selections were more diverse, from Mexican traditionals to sunshine pop and Memphis-powered blues jams (probably Sahm’s ever present musical schizophrenia peeking through). These tracks are a pleasure to finally hear, with some certain gems in the mix
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