It's hard to fault Alejandro Fernandez for his aim on this project -- to present some of the great Mexican songs of the last century. And to do it on a live recording, rather than in the safety of the studio, is definitely ambitious. There's little argument with the song selection, with focuses on Agustin Lara. José Alfredo Jiménez, Juan Gabriel, and songs associated with his father, the great Vicente Fernandez. So far, so good. The problem comes in the execution. This is music with very strong roots that ends up smothered in old-style Hollywood strings, making the concert the equivalent of a giant supper club. Even the classic "Besame Mucho" gets slathered in a warmed-over Hollandaise of recycled cabaret stylings. There's improvement on the second CD, when trumpets and guitar form the main backing to Jiménez's "Ella," and the strings manage to retain some Mexican flavor; "Cuando El Destino" could be from nowhere but South of the Border. However, by "Amaneci Entre Tus Brazos," we're firmly back in the middle of the road. Luckily, it's just a detour on the road back to Mexico, and the CD continues to show some spirit, although the choir on "Serenata Huasteca" might be overkill. Fernandez is reverent with a medley of his father's work -- and considering he invites direct comparison, in spite of the fact he doesn't have a voice as big as his dad's, more power to him -- and he brings out the emotion of Juan Gabriel's songs. All in all, a mixed bag -- or two mixed bags, really. Just make sure you discard the first one.
AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2