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Los PacaminosLos Pacaminos
Album: Los Pacaminos: The Early Years/A Fistful of Statins: Deluxe Edition
Label: Recado
Tracks: 16/17
Website: http://www.lospacaminos.com

I've had a long standing affection for Paul Young ever since, back in the days when I wrote for Melody Maker, I reviewed a release by his late 70s outfit, Streetband, describing it as Radio 2 ironing music, and he sent me a toy ironing board. Since then, he went on to have a hugely successful career, first fronting Q Tips and then as a solo artist, notching up Top 10 albums and singles, the latter including the likes of "Wherever I Lay My Hat", "Love of the Common People" and "Everytime You Go Away". His career peaked in the early 90s, but, while continuing to release material under his own name, in 1992, while between labels, he reinvented himself and formed Los Pacaminos, a Tex-Mex styled outfit influenced by the likes of Ry Cooder, Doug Sahm, Flaco Jiminez and Los Lobos. With a line up that also included Drew Barnfield on vocals and guitar and pedal steel maestro Melvin Duffy, they were initially just a live band playing the pub circuit, but, in 2002, they took the recording plunge and released their self-titled debut album.

Now, to mark Young's 60th birthday, both it and its belated 2014 follow-up are getting a reissue (the first in April, the second in May), both repackaged to include extra tracks. As such, the debut, which featured such good time original numbers as "Manana", "My, My, My", "Raised On Margaritas" and "Do We Want The Same Things?", also comes with even rarer EP tracks, "No Seas Tonta Mujer", " Hey Baby Que Paso?" and a Tex-Mex arrangement of Arthur Alexander classic "You'd Better Move On".

Again featuring original songs, "Statins" comes as a Deluxe Edition that includes the likes of the shuffling Presley-ish "Jump Back Baby", twangy guitar instrumental "Razor Wire", "The Girl From Tennessee", dusty country ballad "Caballero", the growly blues "Every Little Hero" and a Marty Robbins-like cover of Jay and the Americans hit "Come A Little Bit Closer". Added to these are three brand new recordings, dreamy acoustic ballad "Prairie Serenade", the uptempo accordion squeezing bounce of "Outside The Law" and, by way of something different, a terrific near instrumental cover of the Bee Gees classic "Words", retitled "Palambras", sung in Spanish and featuring UK mariachi outfit Mariachi el Mexicano.

Neither album ever really got the acclaim they deserved at the time, but they can stand up alongside more celebrated names like The Mavericks and the Sir Douglas Quintet, delivering both tear-stained balladry and tequila fuelled party stompers. It would be a nice birthday present, if they finally got some overdue recognition.

Mike Davies