One of the last albums released before Jiménez died of hepatitis brought on by heavy drinking, El Cantinero is an interesting look at one of Mexico's most highly regarded composers. Several of the tracks are classics, especially "El Ray" and "El Cobarde," but the most interesting are those that Jiménez utilized to dig deep into his own psyche. "Yo Debi Enamorarme de Tu Madre," which translates to "I Should Have Married Your Mother" was written about his marriage to a girl 27 years his junior and aches with both pathos and humor -- a pathos and humor that permeates all of Jiménez's rancheras. First-time listeners may want to seek out a greatest-hits collection, but anyone who wants to dig deeper should definitely seek out El Cantinero.
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AllMusic Review by Wade Kergan