Lobo – The Best of Lobo (1993): On Second Thought

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Born Roland Kent LaVoie, Lobo was quite a visible force in the 70s, having racked up a total of eight chart-topping hit singles during the decade.

Prior to launching a lone-wolf career (apologies for the pun, as Lobo means wolf in Spanish), the Florida native held membership in a few different bands. One group, the Rumours, featured country rock pioneer Gram Parsons and Jim Stafford, who attained fame in the early 70s with wonky tunes like “Spiders and Snakes,” “My Girl Bill,” “Your Bulldog Drinks Champagne,” and “I Got Stoned and I Missed It.”

Focusing on the years 1971-75, when Lobo enjoyed his greatest success, The Best of Lobo (Rhino Records) will not only satisfy the needs of original fans, but will certainly convert newcomers as well. Aside from sporting a clear and direct voice, fringed with an element of yearning that referenced Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers, Lobo composed songs that struck a universal chord.

While the majority of his musings spoke of relationship struggles, he also excelled at toe-tapping, good time fare, prompting him to share similar traits with contemporaries such as John Denver and Jim Croce.

Organized in order by release date, The Best Of Lobo shines a bright light on the singer-songwriter’s specialty for fusing commercial pop aspirations with country and folk underpinnings. Stamped with just enough twang to honor Lobo’s roots and just enough twinkle and polish to bait AM radio devotees, “Rings,” “There Ain’t No Way,” “Standing at the End of the Line,” and “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” mix cozy coffeehouse vibes with mainstream measures to an ear-pleasing aftermath.

On a glossier level, there’s the mournful narrations of “Don’t Expect Me To Be Your Friend,” “It Sure Took a Long, Long Time,” and “I’d Love You to Want Me,” while “She Didn’t Do Magic” stutters to a groovy rhythm, and the memoir-minded “Rock and Roll Days” swaggers clumsily to a creaking beat, accompanied by a zippy Chuck Berry-meets-Scotty Moore-styled guitar solo.

Lobo penned spiffy songs, sang them with sincerity and strummed a fine guitar, so it’s no wonder he cracked the airwaves, particularly in an era when this kind of music was in vogue. But as The Best of Lobo demonstrates, he definitely had talent and substance. If there’s any artist due for reassessment, it’s Lobo.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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