Search

NorteñoBlog

music, charts, opinions

Tag

Ramon Ayala

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 8/26/16

beto zapata

Much has changed on the Mexican airwaves since NorteñoBlog last tuned in over a month ago. The former #1 song, a heartbroken sob story of romantic grief and brassy bereftitude by Arrolladora, has given way to a different heartbroken sob story of romantic grief and brassy bereftitude, this time by Banda MS. And everyone knows that Arrolladora ballads are ace slow jams with rhythm sections full of coiled tension, while MS ballads drip like the discharge from festering sores. It’s all there in the music!

dos monedasFurther down, two Remex Records acts have replaced themselves on the radio with remakes. The more notable is ace flarer-of-nostrils Edwin Luna and his banda of second fiddlers, La Trakalosa. Given our troubled and uncertain times on both sides of the Great Wall of Trump, NorteñoBlog finds comfort in watching Luna grimace his way through another extravagant video meant to highlight his perennially nascent acting chops. (He acts in both color and black and white!) No hay nada nuevo bajo el sol. “Dos Monedas” was previously a hit for Ramón Ayala, and it was written by Jesse Armenta — You know him! He wrote some political barnburners for Los Tigres, including “El Circo,” thus winning himself a chapter in the book Narcocorrido — and it’s another heartbroken sob story.

Only this sob story is not at all romantic; it’s closer to “The Christmas Shoes” or some shit. The narrator is an abusive drunk. One cold and wintry night he sends his son out to beg for money to support the family booze fund. The next morning he opens the door to find sonny boy dead, both frozen and starved, holding in his small frozen starved hands the “dos monedas” of the title. All our children should be so dedicated! The narrator, no fool, sees a moral in this story, as does Edwin Luna, whose unconvincing portrayal of the drunk ends by approximating sadness. But Luna over-emotes his songs like nobody else, a good thing, and the arrangement makes this the cheeriest tune about filicide since “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” ¡VALE LA PENA! Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 8/26/16”

¡Nuevo! (starring Noel Torres, Omar Sánchez Omi, y más)

bobby pulido

Well this is the stuff of myth and legend:

Desde el filo de la sierra
Viene la historia que traigo:
Que por esas tierras
Suelta anda una fiera
Entre aquellos pinos altos…

From the edge of the sierra
Comes the story that I bring:
Through those lands
Freely walks a beast
Among those tall pines …

Plenty of corridos begin in a similar manner, of course, establishing their (anti)heroes as larger than life figures. But Noel Torres’s new single on Gerencia 360, “No Andan Cazando Venados” (“Don’t Go Hunting Deer”), opens with knowing mastery of the form. Torres begins by placing himself into the story as storyteller, thus joining the long historical line of corridistas, stretching back not just to Ramon Ayala but to Homer recounting the tales of brave Ulysses. (“Tell me, O Muse…”) Then things get scary. I admit I shuddered when I got to the part about the beast roaming through the tall pines — it’s such a contrast with the folksy opening, and “fiera” arrives at the end of its line with a jolt. Torres reclaims the word’s savagery. (I swear, if I hear one more TV chef tell me he’s “a beast in the kitchen”…) Now I just need to figure out the rest of the song. Something to do with the DEA and big-ass guns. The translation service is limited help in this case.

The song was written by El Diez and Danilo Avilés. El Diez is the shadowy figure who wrote the equally mythic “El Karma,” recorded most iconically by the late Ariel Camacho, but also by Torres and lots of other people. Avilés wrote the second song on Camacho’s El Karma album, and Torres’s arrangement of “Venados” sounds like he’s adapting Camacho’s unusual instrumentation. He takes stripped down passages of requinto guitar solos over lurching tuba, the same dynamic you find in Camacho’s repertoire, and alternates them with full banda sections. Horns replace rhythm guitar. The result is both serious and silly (ay, esos clarinetes), a fitting tribute that also fits with Torres’s swagger. Pick to Click, obviously.

ramon ayalaShould you develop a hankering to delve into corrido history, the Freddie label has released a new Ramon Ayala comp entitled Corridos Famosos. Ayala’s muse speaks to him the tales of brave Gerardo Gonzales, Juanita y Miguel, y otros. No idea how this compares with other Ayala compilations out there.

If we’re already talking (probably) unnecessary cheapo Ramon Ayala reissues, you may have guessed it’s a light week for albums. You’re right! The singles, though, they never stop. Fonovisa has recently sent to radio new work from some of its heaviest hitters. Los Tigres are back with their third Realidades single, the midtempo waltz “Hoy Le Hablo El Diario,” which does the thing where the rhythm section rushes the second beat of every bar so the waltz feels slightly nauseating. In a good way. If you like beards and flannel and don’t wanna move to Seattle, Codigo FN has a slow one out called “Pinche Vieja Interesada,” which is less interesante than its title. Better are the new Proyecto X corrido “5 Letras,” reeling off verse after verse like a gold-plated machine gun eating up magazines, and Remmy Valenzuela’s very stripped-down chiquitita ballad “Menti,” in which his accordion seems capable of breath and thought.

Bobby PulidoBut who needs major label distribution when the internet frontier beckons musicians to simply release their own music? Tejano singer Bobby Pulido has been on the scene since the mid-’90s, and his new “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido” is a likable walking tempo number that could’ve come from Intocable — but does Intocable have its own line of Western wear (see top of page)? I submit that Intocable does NOT.

los grandesThe equally breezy Los Grandes de Tijuana DRANK YOUR LOVE! Just drank it right up. Los Grandes are also ’90s music lifers, and “Me Bebi Tu Amor” has the lazy front-porch-with-squeezebox vibe of Bob Dylan’s Tejano album Together Through Life, still my favorite of his post-’70s catalog.

omar sanchezNorteñoBlog swooned when Gerardo Ortiz mixed up the banda with the bachata in “Eres Una Niña,” and now I hear Omar Sánchez Omi trying something similar on “Tu y Yo.” Rhythmically it doesn’t vary too much from Recodo’s romantic moods, but Sánchez’s voice is husky and swarthy like King Romeo’s and could have some of the same R&B appeal, if enough people hear him. Sánchez used to sing for Chicago’s Alacranes Musical, one of my favorite duranguense bands, and there exists a photo of him dressed up like Santa Claus and standing next to Diana Reyes, so I’m pulling for him.

¡Nuevo! (starring Colmillo Norteño, Cuarteto Imperial, y más)

colmillo big

NorteñoBlog has been in the tank for Remex Records since hearing La Trakalosa’s “Mi Padrino El Diablo” on the radio. The song co-opted the Faust myth with more diabolical vigor than any of the surrounding songs could manage — any, that is, except those by other Remex bands, like Banda Tierra Sagrada and Marco Flores’s #1 Banda Jerez. Sometimes these bands falter: Tierra Sagrada’s “Soy Un Desmadre” is a great single, but most of their forgettable 2014 album was a disappointment. Overall, though, the Remex crew are a lively bunch who appear on one another’s tunes and seem perpetually on the verge of cracking up.

colmilloThis week on Remex, the tuba quintet Colmillo Norteño releases their 10-song A Quien Corresponda, which features their own take on “Mi Padrino El Diablo,” along with the rapid-fire circus parade (and Pick to Click) “La Plebona” and some other good or promising stuff. Colmillo have been around for several years, their album covers growing shinier and less rural over time, and I dig their sousaphone “O.” They also appeared on Tierra Sagrada’s smash “El Bueno y El Malo,” which at last count had garnered ONE TRILLION YOUTUBE VIEWS.

Also on Remex, Trakalosa’s new single “La Revancha” may be good for practicing your cusswords, or at least your three-against-two subdivisions. Wouldn’t hurt you to click on that one, either.

Another single, by the duranguense goddess Diana Reyes, is not as good. She sings her self-released banda ballad “La Mesa Puesta” well, but the song itself lies flat.

el tronoSpeaking of duranguense, El Trono de México has a new best-of, Los Más Grandes (Skalona), which kicks off with a song entitled “Se Fue” that is NOT the Diana Reyes song “Se Fue.”

la originalLa Original Banda El Limón drops Medio Siglo (Luz/Disa), from whence comes their Mexican top 10 ballad “Mayor de Edad.” Like their clademates in Arrolladora, Original reliably churns out two or three radio hits a year, and “Mayor” has begun its slow climb to mayority in El Norte.

cuarteto imperialIn the world of cumbia albums that may or may not be compilations, but that are definitely pro-fishing, Cuarteto Imperial celebrates El Pescador (Utopia). I should caution that Cuarteto Imperial is South American, not Mexican: this busy album cover boasts “De Colombia a la Argentina ye de Argentina para el mundo!” World conquest may take them a while; when I went to watch the video for “El Alegre Pescador,” it had zero views. Now it has one. This is a great injustice you should help remedy, because “Alegre” is a lot of fun, heavy on synth and piano, and not the official Click to Pick only because I can’t tell if it’s new. Cuarteto Imperial also posted the rest of this album on Youtube. Go make some fishermen happy.

antionio aguilarThe late man-myth-legend Antonio Aguilar has a new compilation, Antonio Aguilar Eterno (Seamusic). Aguilar recorded 150 albums of ranchera music and acted in a bunch of movies. Billboard sez, “Much of his repertoire consisted of “Corridos,” the sung stories so beloved in Mexican music. He turned several “corridos,” into classics, including “Gabino Barrera,” “Caballo Prieto Azabache” and “Albur de Amor.””

ramon ayalaI like the cover of this Ramon Ayala reissue:

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑