Vicente Fernández

Historia de un Idolo, Vol. 1

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Vicente Fernández possesses a voice of operatic quality and size, and his singing has earned him the title "King of Ranchera," the Mexican rural musical style that's a part of the mariachi form. He might wear the sombrero and glittery, showy Mexican cowboy uniform to display his roots (he was actually born in Jalisco, the home of mariachi music), but don't be fooled -- he's a persuasive, sophisticated singer with immense control over his pipes. A true icon in Mexico, he's sold millions of records, and it's easy to hear why, when, for example, he unleashes a gentle cry on "Aca Entre Nos" or a wail on "Hoy Platique Con Mi Gallo." For the most part this isn't true roots music -- there's too big an orchestration of the majority of tunes for that -- but the inflection in the arrangements is always ineffably Mexican, both in rhythm and melody. The closest to "pure" ranchera is "Lastima Que Seas Ajena," but even that isn't exactly pure. Not that it matters; once he gets singing, you're completely swept up in his voice, and this collection -- the story of an idol -- simply won't let you go until he's finished.

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