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Aural Pleasure Review

Karloz: 'Tex-Bop Deluxe'

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Who the hell is "Karloz"? This is the type of album that sits for weeks and weeks on a music critic's desk as the writer works to shake their fears of yet another cheesy collection of crowd-pleasing old hits given the "Tejano" treatment. When I finally decided to play it, it absolutely knocked my socks off and made me wonder who this guy was. It turns out Karloz is Carlos Taboada, better known from his traffic reporter days as "Go-Cart Carlos" of KXTN-FM fame. The album is a stirring collection of blues, doo-wop, and '50s rock hits performed by some of San Antonio's finest musicians (including Ram Herrera, Joe Posada, Héctor Saldaña, Ernie Garibay, Chente Barrera, and others). But these aren't just covers — Karloz keeps the essence intact but adopts the songs as his own. His voice has the melodic shine and power of the best Chicano singers of the '60s and '70s, and the band sounds superb, thanks in no small part to a superb production by Ron Morales and Robert Ybarra at Studio M. It's a fun, direct, entertaining album that deserves a glorious CD release party. You can tell Karloz is a showman that knocks 'em dead on the dance floor, but we'll have to wait to find out. He's only now putting that band together to gig.

★★★★ (out of 5 stars)

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