Los Torpedos

EX414-2 #60
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by Dave Sleger  All Music.com
Imagine a trio from Austria sporting a Mexican name who play stomp, blues, Hawaiian marches, and old-time American tunes. Toss in a few rock & roll classics like "In a Gadda da Vida" and the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" and voila! — you have Los Torpedos. Their lineup consists of R.B Friedrich on guitars, National steel, mandolin, harmonica, and vocals; Rudy Pfann on drums, fiddle, kazoo, and vocals; and Heinz Raberger on tuba and melodica. The lead vocals are a cross between Leon Redbone and Bob Brozman, and the arrangements resemble those of Robert Crumb in addition to Redbone and Brozman. While compositions by Big Bill Broonzy, Jelly Roll Morton, and Walter Doyle are expected for this type of music, the more contemporary pieces by Iron Butterfly and Shel Silverstein ("Sylvia's Mother") are a bit of a stretch. The Kinks, on the other hand, have written dozens of songs that easily lend themselves to "Torpedo music" adaptations. Campiness aside, this is a tastey slice of Americana performed with more authenticity by these Austrians than managed by most U.S.-based groups who attempt the same.