The Latin Pimps
To call these guys "Latin Pimps" is a bit of a misnomer: you won't see any chains, fancy cars or hot ladies dripping off their arms. "Border geeks with a mambo fetish" might be a better name, but perhaps they found that prohibitively long. In any case, the not-so-aptly-named Latin Pimps released their first album, El Borracho, in 1999. For a record that owed most of its debts to Cuba (in the form of mambo and Cuban son), it did pretty well: they won several awards and gigged out a bit. Then bandleader Robert Gomez relocated to New York City to pursue a solo career, and that looked like the end of the band -- or so it seemed. With Norah Jones' encouragement, Gomez returned to Texas in 2004 to reform the band and release an album. In 2005 the group came out with the wonderfully original Me Voy, which falls somewhere in the Calexico/Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros nexus of dusty bilingual border rock, enlivened by a Cuban son chaser.