Soul Disguise (Rykodisc), the solo debut from Los Lobos cofounder Cesar Rosas, reveals who's been fighting hardest to keep the roots showing on the veteran East LA group's increasingly multifaceted records. In fact, if David Hidalgo had only chipped in some vocals here and there, I could easily file this album among middle-period Lobos gems like By the Light of the Moon and The Neighborhood. Rosas has whipped up an easy-to-swallow mix of blues rock, Tex-Mex, New Orleans R & B, and soul--all still crucial components of his main band's sound--with healthy doses of his superb guitar playing and effortless singing. With Hidalgo busy making wonderfully quirky albums with the Latin Playboys and Houndog (with Canned Heat alum Mike Halby), Soul Disguise is an enjoyable reminder of what made Los Lobos' early days such a pleasure. Friday, 10 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 773-489-3160. PETER MARGASAK
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/ Cesar Rosas/ Rudy Rodriquez.