Black Music Matters Festival

Raul Malo

Lucky One – 2009 (Fantasy)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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We've all heard pop songs cliches about how love is a gamble, with both winners and losers. Raul Malo seems to have rolled the dice and won. The title track brags, "Now I'm the lucky one, I'll always bee the lucky one." Malo describes himself as the jackpot during You Always Win, however, when he announces, "Baby you, you always win."

When it comes to purchasing new music, Malo is about the surest bet out there. Beginning with The Mavericks, Malo has consistently made appealing music for eclectic tastes. Having Jeff Berlin (Los Lobos' saxophonist) produce only doubled his chances of keeping this winning streak alive. Berlin's imprint is most strongly felt during Moonlight Kiss, which swings lightheartedly, in much the same way Los Lobos' cover of Louis Prima's The Jungle Book contribution, I Wanna Be Like You (The Monkey Song).

Malo is probably best known for his party-time Americana swing music. But with One More Angel, we get to experience the man's more serious side. Over a softly swaying backing, Malo says goodbye to "One more angel" who is up there looking down. And this is merely one winner in Malo's recorded winning hand.