Los Rieleros del Norte

20 Rieles de Oro

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Many regional Mexican artists tend to record frequently -- more frequently than artists in other areas of music -- and when artists are coming out with two or three new albums every year (which certainly isn't the norm in rock, R&B or country), their catalogs grow in a hurry. Take los Rieleros del Norte, for example. These norteño veterans get into the studio often and have built a huge catalog along the way -- and while a catalog of that size will not intimidate serious collectors and truly hardcore fans, it can easily intimidate someone who is interested in casually exploring their work but does not know where to begin. For novices, best-of collections are usually the best place to start, and more than a few best-ofs by los Rieleros have been assembled since the '80s. 20 Rieles de Oro, a best-of that Fonovisa put together in 2006, is not the only los Rieleros best-of that is worth owning, but it offers an excellent, 61-minute sample of their Fonovisa output. This collection spotlights many of los Rieleros' strong points, which include polkas ("Seria una Flor," "Tu Nuevo Cariñito," "Dos Seres Que Se Aman"), waltzes ("A Medias Parejo," "Ya No Vuelvo a Molestarte") and corridos ("La Carga Ladeada"). Another high point of the disc is an emotional performance of Gilberto Parra Paz' "Por un Amor," a famous ranchera standard that has been recorded by numerous Mexican artists over the years. Is 20 Rieles de Oro the last word on los Rieleros' Fonovisa output? Not by a long shot. But it is among the best-ofs that is well worth obtaining if one is checking out their norteño legacy for the first time.

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