It is the longstanding position of NorteñoBlog that the puro sax styles of Chihuahua and Zacatecas would improve with the addition of more terrible “sax” puns in the titles. This week’s roundup is all Chihuahua (“Saxo Con Mi Chihuahua”? nononono), but stay tuned, as Zacatecas continues to prolifically birth more sax bands than any of us can handle.
Los Bravos de Ojinaga have just released their 10th album, A Más No Poder (Azteca) (alternate title: Saxo Toda La Noche), and it’s everything you like about the puro Chihuahua sax: accordion and sax lines intertwining around the singer, spritely dance grooves, and yearning harmonies. It’s also everything you dislike: namely, it gets kind of samey after a while and it never peaks. This is music for house parties and cleaning up after them. (Saxy norteño albums really make me step up my sweeping and mopping game.) The video for Los Bravos’ romantic single “Comprendelo” features a cuckolded cowboy and Jesus on an accordion.
Speaking of el saxo y la salvación (there’s your album title!), Los Salvajes de Chihuahua recently released album number 11, Soltaron la Rienda (Goma). In an unusual case of puro Chihuahua sax distinctions being cost-effective, “Algo de Ti” is a better lead single than “Comprendelo” because it throws in some additional beats and minor chords where you don’t expect them. A cursory listen to Soltaron makes me think Los Salvajes pay more attention to their pop hooks than Los Bravos do, and Edgar Estrada sings with an appealing rasp. Pick to Click!
I feel like we’re giving short shrift to the rival puro sax style of Zacatecas. I know this comes as a huge disappointment. Whatever. The puro Houston fishermen Los Pescadores del Rio Conchos have a new single out, “Fui Un Mal Amor” (Azteca), in which they harmonize and lament. El Rio Concho, as you know, is a Rio Grande tributary that flows through Chihuahua and contains 12 endemic species of fish. It’s also the title of a Richard Boone Western film from 1964. If I knew more about movies, I might be able to tell you how sussing out the distinctions in puro sax songs is like doing the same with Westerns, where type scenes manage viewer expectations and little moments can make all the difference. Forthcoming thinkpiece/album title: Mal Saxo Es Mejor Que No Saxo.