Various Artists

México en la Sangre: Añoranzas de Mi Pueblo [CD & DVD]

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In late 2004, Fonovisa launched its Mexico en la Sangre series with this two-disc set -- a semi-aural, semi-visual tribute to the Mexican state of Jalisco. Disc two, a DVD, is a documentary spotlighting some of Jalisco's cultural highlights, while Disc one is a 30-minute audio CD containing ten classic Jalisco-minded songs -- and classic is definitely the word to describe time-tested mariachi or ranchera performances by the likes of Jorge Negrete ("Ay Jalisco, No Te Rajes," "Las Alteñitas," "Hasta Que Perdió Jalisco"), Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán ("Tecalitlán") and Rondalla Tapatia ("Virgencita de Talpa"). Disc one (which contains mostly recordings that Fonovisa licensed from BMG Latin) gets off to an excellent start with Luis Aguilar's famous version of the Pepe Guízar standard "Guadalajara," and gems like José Alfredo Jiménez' "Estrella de Jalisco" and Maria de Lourdes' version of Guízar's "Chapala" aren't any less definitive; with or without the accompanying DVD, Disc one offers an excellent, if brief, dose of traditional mariachi and ranchera. The greatest problem with this release is the lack of recording dates and liner notes; there is absolutely no reason why Fonovisa couldn't have at least listed the years (or approximate years) in which these performances were recorded. Those who aren't seasoned connoisseurs of traditional Mexican music need to know why the recordings of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán and Jiménez are so important; the incredibly prolific Jiménez (who wrote many songs that have become standards) was arguably the Antonio Carlos Jobim of Mexico, and Mariachi Vargas is one of Mexico's most enduring and historic bands (going all the way back to 1898). But despite the frustrating absence of liner notes and recording dates, this two-disc set is a rewarding homenaje (homage) to Jalisco -- both aurally and visually.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
blue highlight denotes track pick