Oro Norteño

Boquita Colorada

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In regional Mexican music, artists are known for recording frequently, flooding the market with CDs and building a sizable catalog in a hurry. It isn't uncommon for norteño, banda, ranchera or mariachi artists to come out with two -- or perhaps even three -- new albums a year, and that's quite a contrast to all the rock, R&B, country and rap artists who might give listeners a two-, three- or four-year wait between albums. Oro Norteño was formed in 1996, and by the summer of 2004, they had at least 14 albums in their catalog -- compare that to a major alternative pop/rock act like No Doubt, who have been around since 1987 and have a catalog less than half the size of Oro Norteño's by the summer of 2004. Thankfully, Oro believes in quality as well as quantity, and 2004's Boquita Colorada does nothing to endanger the good reputation they have acquired in regional Mexican circles. Boquita Colorada doesn't break any new ground for the California norteño group, but their performances are pleasingly solid on spirited tunes like "Yo No Sabia," "Oidos Necios" and "Lobo Domesticado." Oro makes some doo wop moves on Joan Sebastian's "No le Tengas Compasion," also known as "Experto en Fracasos," but they don't do it in a grupero fashion. While the sleek, polished grupero style is essentially Latin pop with Mexican overtones, Oro Norteño is generally faithful to norteño's rugged, earthy spirit -- stylistically, this half-hour CD is much closer to the grit of los Huracanes del Norte and los Rieleros del Norte than the urbane polish of Conjunto Primavera (a major grupero band). So when all is said and done, those who fancy themselves norteño/Tex-Mex purists shouldn't have a hard time appreciating this enjoyable, if brief, addition to Oro Norteño's ever-growing catalog.

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