Rudy Tee Gonzales

Country

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This album by a San Antonio Tex-Mex performer is a rare and wonderful thing. Well, most listeners would agree that it is rare, as in most likely impossible to find, although gems such as this do pop up when one is not really looking for them. The artist is Rudy Tee Gonzales, whose version of the song "Together Again" was a regional hit in the mid-'60s, recorded by his group, Rudy and the Renobops. The song itself inhabits the same netherworld between country music and the various rootsy manifestations of pop music such as rhythm & blues as the career of Gonzales itself does. Ray Charles, one of few black performers to go country for a few albums, also recorded this song. Apparently emboldened by the public's love of fusion projects, Gonzales goes even farther on this album, imagining and then acting on the bold idea of a melding of Chicano and country & western music. All the tunes are sung in Spanish, and beautifully at that. Some of the songs will jump out as quite recognizable adaptations of English country hits. Gonzales chooses songs that are perfect for his voice and delivers lyrics with clear intonation no matter what the musical setting behind him. Unidentified musicians provide a wide range of support, including a basically country backing as well as smoothly played horn arrangements that sound like they were practiced at great length. The whole production is super. It would have been nice to know something about the musicians and who did the arrangements, and presenting such information would have been a better use of the back cover space than the photos of Gonzales puttering around in his barn.

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