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Carlos Guitarlos :: Hell Can Wait
by Joe McGaha

I just enjoyed the best c.d. that I have heard this year – Carlos Guitarlos’ “Hell Can Wait”! I was not familiar with Carlos’ work, but he’s been going since the ‘80’s. He worked with Top Jimmy back then, and was on his way up until drugs and alcohol derailed his career, and he found himself performing on a street corner in San Francisco for years.

This c.d. includes vocals and guitar by Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo, and is a great blend of good time blues tunes (with some country influence, and even some Spanish/Mexican influence, clearly). Carlos’ vocals are a mix of the raspy sound of Louis Armstrong, possibly a little Leon Redbone, mixed with the heavy blues of just about any great performer (Howlin’ Wolf comes to mind). These songs all have a great feel to them, some great harmonies (I love the vocal mix in Got No Time), and lyrics that are witty, funny, and sad. The last song, “I’ve Been Dead Since You’ve Been Gone” hit me like a ton of bricks. Who hasn’t felt that way at one time or another? Somebody who hasn’t lived much yet – we all get there eventually (except for the very, very lucky ones).

“Drinkin’ Again” is definitely auto-biographical, and could be the anthem for a lot of folks who have been down and out. Altogether, there are 19 songs on this c.d., and every one of them is gem. Definitely check it out if you get a chance – who knows how long he’ll be around?

For more information on Carlos Guitarlos on the web: http://www.carlosguitarlos.com

published 13.11.2005© 2005 jazz news :: home page

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