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RECORD RACK

'Desperado' Wild and Authentic

August 27, 1995|Chris Riemenschneider

VARIOUS ARTISTS

"Desperado: The Soundtrack"

Epic Soundtrax

* * *

Except for the annoying snippets of film dialogue scattered throughout the album, this soundtrack is a well-designed collection characterized by the gritty feel of Ennio Morricone's classic scores for the Sergio Leone spaghetti Westerns--with even more whistling. The difference is the Latin flair provided by Los Lobos and their offshoot the Latin Playboys, as well as Carlos Santana and Tito & Tarantula, which features former Plugz and Cruzados singer and "Desperado" cast member Tito Larriva.

The songs--six of them debuting in this soundtrack--are mostly guitar-driven and often echo the gunfight rhythm that Dick Dale's music provided "Pulp Fiction," particularly Link Wray & His Ray Men's "Jack the Ripper" and Roger & the Gypsies' "Pass the Hatchet." A few surprises are featured, namely the decent singing ability of star Antonio Banderas on the Los Lobos-backed track "Cancion del Mariachi (Morena de Mi Corazon)" as well as the Latin side of Dire Straits, who throw their sombreros nicely into the ring with "Six Blade Knife" from their first album.

But the melodies by Santana and Los Lobos' members are what give this soundtrack its authentic, Wild Mexico sound--a first, almost certainly, for a Hollywood soundtrack.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (e x cellent).

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