I was watching YouTube videos the other day and Los Lobos’ “I Got Loaded” got thrown into the mix. I was a huge fan of theirs in the early 80’s. Steve Berlin played sax for the band. I played sax as a youth. But Steve Berlin, the sax man, is on another plane.

Back in the day

I lost track of Los Lobos when I served in the US Navy. Unintentionally, of course, but that’s how these things happen. I served on the USS Marvin Shields (FF-1066), a relatively small ship with an important mission. Music is not available out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Especially music that was categorized as “alternative” at the time.

I left the Navy in 1990 and Los Lobos was no longer played on many alternative radio station. Marriage, kids and life happened. Before you know it, I’d lost touch.

COVID and Lockdown

During the COVID Lockdown, I’ve been relegated to working from my loft with limited human interaction. (Sorry, but Zoom / Teams is not the same). One positive: I have managed to put together a Spotify playlist that I enjoy tremendously.

Along the way, Spotify suggested I listen to Los Lobos.

This is my favorite playlist on Spotify.

“Of course!” I said to myself. I looked through the Los Lobos catalog and added a handful of songs that I remembered . As the titles came up, fragments of music and lyrics played in my imagination and I clicked the “Add to Playlist” option.

Cue the Sax Man

The songs started playing on my rotation and eventually “I Got Loaded” was queued up. As the song played Steve Berlin’s work on the Tenor Saxophone jumped out at me. I noticed that he was featured in several sections of the piece.

It’s a tour-de-force of Tenor Saxophone musicianship. I don’t know how I missed it before. But I’m glad I did not miss it now. I supposed experience, age, insights, whatever you call it, opened my eyes (and ears) to this tune. But I’m glad I caught it this time.

I encourage you to listen to it and all the other terrific work that Los Lobos has created over the years. It will open your eyes as it entertains your ears.

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