It's rare that a certain sound is entirely an artist's own. Although undeniably a stew of impeccable influences – from blues to folk to Latin to dusty funk, soul and hip-hop – one cannot hear a Tommy Guerrero song without immediately recognizing it as his – and his only. The cult skater from San Francisco is globally renowned as one of the original members of the legendary "Bones Brigade" team. And as an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, his laid-back soul is beloved by all who've basked in its blissful glow. There's something elemental about this music that really stirs the soul. Strikingly beautiful and instantly addictive, it's a kind of funk-fueled, melody-driven, groove-based magic. There's a serenity and heart in the playing that radiates warmth and splendor, as if crafted for endless sunsets.
His albums that surfaced on Mo Wax at the turn of the century have been treasured since their release and it's two of his most vital LPs that Be With Records is honored to reintroduce. The originals were quietly pressed on to a single piece of vinyl so they've worked closely with Tommy this year to bring you these fresh editions. They have been lovingly remastered, cut nice and loud on to heavyweight double vinyl and presented in deluxe gatefold jackets. Soul Food Taqueria continued Guerrero's guitar soul but represented a step forward with its polished production and greater complexity of instrumentation. Denied the promotion it deserved upon release, it flew under the radar. It is now the most wanted record of his wondrous back catalogue.
Guerrero's atmospheric touch and subtle guitar provide lush, glimmering pieces of musical texture. Within his spacious compositions, uniquely arranged instruments flourish alongside each other to create a languid soundtrack for halcyon days. As ever, the diversity on display is beguiling. From bossa nova, samba and cumbia rhythms to understated folk, funk and soul grooves, this is another exotic set of mellow gold; perfectly represented by ESPO's memorable artwork. Furthermore, the title's hybridity reflects the intoxicating sweep of stylistic flavors served up, reminding us that, however tricky it is to categorize Guerrero's special blend, it's always a pleasure to indulge in something so creative and adventurous.
Dubby, bass-heavy instrumentals give way to moody folk-soul – witness "It Gets Heavy," featuring melancholic vocals from Gresham Taylor – whilst "Thank You MK" is a gentle ode to the tropics, featuring ethereal instrumentation, bright bass and warm, jazzy guitars. The second half in particular contains a number of stunning ambient tracks – check "Lost Unfound," "Another Brother Gone" and "Broken Blood" – built around minimalist, laid-back grooves and detailed guitar orchestrations which wouldn't be out of place on the latest Jonny Nash release. Guerrero closes this flawless set with a moment of true beauty. Restrained and graceful, "Falling Awake" is a pared back piece containing meditative guitar melodies set against melancholic piano arrangements. It brings proceedings to the most peaceful close. Seductively good, it reminds you just how great simplicity can sound.