El Vez Graciasland
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by El Vez ~ G.I. Ay, Ay! Blues ~ $5.97
- Released: July 27, 1994
- Label: Sympathy 4 The R.I.
Alternative Press - 1/95, p.58"...GRACIASLAND is 100-percent pepper-free blues-scale easy listening, like the Reverend Horton Heat's sweet conjunto heelkicking..."
Option - 11-12/94, p.112"He could have been a bad joke stretched way too thin, but "the Mexican Elvis" is too clever for that....Any music fan would have a good time naming-that-tune with the way El Vez covers, quotes and plagiarizes almost 40 years of rock history..."
- 1.Negra, La
- 2.Hurarches Azules
- 5.Go! Zapata Go!
- 6.It's Now or Never
- 7.Cinco de Mayo - (Edit)
- 8.Gypsy Queen
- 10.The Cuauhtemoc Walk
- 11.Cesar Shavez
- 12.Mexican Radio
- 13.Save (Baby Let's Play Safe)
- 14.Immigration Time
Personnel includes: El Vez (vocals); Jim Avgeris (guitar).
Personnel: Chip Kinman (vocals, guitar); Tony Kinman (vocals); Jim Avgeris (guitar, electric guitar); Gabriel Tenorio (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin); Mike Sessa (drums, percussion); Lena Marie Aguirre, Pinky (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Earle Mankey; El Vez.
Arranger: El Vez.
This 1994 release was the breakthrough for El Vez. After a stint with the punk band the Zeros, Robert Lopez adopted the El Vez moniker. He began successfully mixing a reverence for Elvis Presley with a broad musical palette, infusing it all with socially conscious lyrics influenced by his Southern California locale. Amazingly, his presentation as a Hispanic Elvis impersonator never falls into novelty or parody.
GRACIASLAND quotes liberally from nearly 40 years of music that preceded it. There are musical references to Santana, the Beatles, T. Rex, Traffic, and plenty more. None of the references seem like nostalgia, but rather vivid reminders of influential touchstones in popular culture. It's rare for social commentary to rub shoulders so comfortably with humor, but El Vez pulls it off with grace and aplomb. This album is a kaleidoscope of fun from beginning to end.
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