Don Santiago Jimenez, Sr.

Last Recordings: Don Santiago Jimenez, Sr./Flaco Jimenez/Juan Viesca

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When Arhoolie honcho Chris Strachwitz made these recordings in San Antonio in 1979, he didn't realize they would be this great Tex-Mex artist's final studio performances. The absolutely exquisite recording job would make any musician happy, but in this case it is fantastic to have such final documentation done with such care and precision. This might be the best recording ever of the bajo sexto, a sort of hybrid baritone guitar/12-string that has a basically quiet and gentle sound but in combination with the string bass creates layered rhythms that could wake the dead. Some of the interplay is marvelous, as in "La Tuna" where the string slapping and delicate high end tones of the bajo sexto combine to create a sort of wet sound that brings to mind fish fins slapping on a board. This might be one of the essential Tex-Mex records for listeners wondering what all the fuss is about; a later CD release combines this with Jimenez's very first, somewhat primitive recordings.

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