Los Pingüinos del Norte

Trovadores de la Frontera

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As a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the professional career of Ruben Castillo Juarez, Los Pinguinos del Norte recorded this collection, devoted mostly to corridos and rancheras. They particularly focused on, as the liner notes put it, "material that is specific to either Nuevo Laredo or Piedras Negras, Eagle Pass, and the vast cultural zone that stretches from small towns in Texas such as Crystal City and Carrizo Springs all the way down to the Don Martin dam area and Rosita and Monclova, Coahuila." Musically, this is unexceptional norteño, the songs sung with spirit and executed with deft instrumentation and harmonies, but melodically pretty similar. The lyrics are rather more interesting than the melodies, telling the stories of a protagonist who died in 1931 during a border conflict ("Ballad of Juan Garcia"), a race horse named Chocolate, "El Patero del Ano" ("The Smuggler of the Year"), and others who have been jailed and slain. Bilingual lyrics are printed for all of the songs, though detailed printed explanations of their roots accompany only some of the selections.

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