Lupillo Rivera

Sold Out, Vol. 1

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A prince of "drunk" banda singers is in his element here -- in front of a huge crowd of adoring (probably equally drunk/high) fans who vent their suffering and frustration along with Rivera in what could be construed by some to be the closest thing to a communal "be-in" that Mexican culture provides. Rivera basically sings his hits and ranchera standards, so even the most casual fan will have no difficulty singing along. Throughout the show he remains ebullient, raw, and perfectly off-key where he needs to be. This is an art form in itself, and its haters are probably the same people who hate rap. For those who like their music sophisticated and refined, this disk is a horror show -- notwithstanding the mainstream material here. Also, it must be said that Rivera and company's blaring attack gets rather numbing after a while if you don't share the common passion of the performer and the audience. Rivera's music always wears its rawness on its sleeve, and the live environment is probably the optimal way to experience that. For those who can't or won't go to one of these types of shows, this disc is the next best thing to being there.

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