Largo is not a Hooters’ album, but its pedigree is Hooter-related. “While attending the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, …[Rob] Hyman met future bandmate and composing partner Eric Bazilian and producer Rick Chertoff. The three of them formed a band called Wax, with Hyman and Bazilian later forming a band called Baby Grand in the late 1970s” (Wikipedia.org). “After Baby Grand disbanded, Hyman and Bazilian decided to try something new by combining reggae, ska, and rock-n-roll to create The Hooters in 1980” (Wikipedia.org).
The Hooters went on hiatus in the mid-‘90s and, “in 1998, Hyman again collaborated with Chertoff to create the concept album Largo” (Wikipedia.org), featuring a number of special guests. Chertoff produced while Hyman contributed songwriting, vocals, and keyboards. Bazilian also made contributions to the album as a session musician.
“Largo’s concept is a heady one: A song cycle” (Sprague) “based on the largo movement of Antonín Dvorák’s Symphony No. 9, in E Minor From the New World” (Wikipedia.org), “which was itself inspired by the Czech composer’s love for indigenous American music of the early 20th century” (Sprague).
The result is a collection “of contemporary frontier ballads, Appalachian reels and work songs…[that] point to The Band’s early work” (EW). Examples of the set’s diverse spectrum “ranges from the swamp-rock shuffle of Disorient Express to the poignantly soaring power balladry of An Uncommon Love, with a real highlight coming via Medallion (which transposes Springsteen-styled workingman’s rock to the life of a Pakistani immigrant cabbie)” (Sprague).
“Thanks to the songwriting savvy of mastermind Rob Hyman…and the efforts of such special guests as Joan Osborne, Cyndi Lauper, and Taj Mahal, the concept never weighs down the music” (Sprague). This is “a highly imaginative, and frequently moving, album” (EW).