Fricke's Picks: A Latin-Rock Classic - Rolling Stone
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Fricke’s Picks: A Latin-Rock Classic

Louie and the Lovers didn’t come from out of nowhere; it just seemed that way. A band of Mexican-Americans from Salinas, California, singer-guitarist-songwriter Louie Ortega, singer-guitarist Frank Paredes, bassist Steve Vargas and drummer Albert Parra quietly issued one of 1970’s best non-hit singles — “I Know You Know,” a bolt of spangled jangle and smooth garage-soul harmonies that Greil Marcus called, in these pages, “perfect music to wake up to” — and then one of rock’s great overlooked debuts, Rise, produced by Doug Sahm.

The golden-dawn chorus of the title song, the fuzz and funk of “Sittin’ by Your River” and the dusty doo-wop waltz “Driver Go Slow” now sound like a natural bridge from Creedence Clearwater Revival to the Chicano-rock explorations of Los Lobos. The Complete Recordings (Bear Family) reissues that prophetic roots ‘n’ spice with two LPs worth of mostly unreleased 1971-73 material, all rolling with the same class and natural groove.

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