In most cases, split CDs -- that is, CDs that are evenly divided between two different artists -- contain new material. But at Fonovisa, split CDs have functioned as best-of releases; the regional Mexican powerhouse will assemble collections of previously released material by two artists who have a lot in common stylistically. It could be two masters of romantic Latin pop -- Marco Antonio Solís and Joan Sebastian, for example -- two banda artists or two hardcore norteño bands. Reunion Entre Amigos, one of Fonovisa's split CDs, focuses on two of the more hardcore bands in norteño: los Rieleros del Norte and Adolfo Urias y Su Lobo Norteño. There are other norteño outfits that have recorded for Fonovisa extensively and would have been equally compatible with los Rieleros -- los Tigres del Norte and los Huracanes del Norte immediately come to mind -- but Urias isn't a bad choice by any means. The main difference between los Rieleros and Urias' Lobo Norteño has to do with age; los Rieleros have been together since 1979, and Urias' outfit hasn't been together nearly as long. But stylistically, the bands have a very similar outlook; both have favored a very gutsy, straight-ahead approach to norteño over the sleek, pop-minded grupero associated with artists like Conjunto Primavera, Priscila y Sus Balas de Plata and los Temerarios. Uniting the more essential recordings of los Rieleros and Urias on the same disc would be like assembling a split Freddie Hubbard/Roy Hargrove CD if Fonovisa was into jazz trumpeters instead of regional Mexican music -- in other words, different generations but similar tastes. Reunion Entre Amigos isn't the last word on Urias -- let alone the long-running Rieleros -- but it's an interesting, enjoyable illustration of the things that two norteño bands from different generations have in common.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson