Category Archives: Reviews

DC Review – The Mavericks at House of Blues

Well I sure did enjoy another energetic, well-performed concert by The Mavericks at House of Blues-Houston. Opening with early hit, Tell Me Why, tossing in hits from throughout their 25-year career, adding some hits from their latest, “In Time,” and as we say in South Texas, adding a few other non-Mavs oldies “de pilon,” The Mavericks once again proved why they are one of the most versatile bands out there.

DSC01230

Raul Malo fronts The Mavericks at HOB

Song after song had a crowd of over 1,500 loyalists dancing, singing along, and shouting their support. And as good as the band is, the crowd seems to energize the band as much as the band energizes the crowd. When it comes to The Mavericks, it really is a people’s band. And that was perhaps the best experience of the evening–the Mavericks fans.

I arrived early and stepped into the HOB restaurant for a beer. The crowd there was mostly loyalists, and a couple of ladies sat with me at my table while I waited to close my tab. Right off the bat, one of the ladies goes into her Mavericks story and how she’d only been a fan for a year or so, but that “In Time” had really helped her through some rough times in her life. Music does soothe the soul, and Mavericks music is probably best for it.

Later on, when I was finally inside the venue, another fan who came in from LaFayette, LA and brought his friends from The Woodlands gave me his Mavericks story. He had been a fan for years and just felt they were the best band in existence, given front man Raul Malo’s unequaled vocals. He had seen them in LaFayette, came to Houston, and looked forward to seeing them at the New Orleans Jazz Festival later this Spring.

Of course, there’s my local friend Jesse who brought his two kids to their first Mavericks concert. From his reports on Facebook, they loved it. I hear they are also big fans of Mavericks squeezebox specialist Michael Guerra. But it just goes to show that the Mavericks attract all ages and backgrounds.

Another friend, Javier and his wife came to enjoy the concert, not realizing the straight 2 1/2 hour concert would have so much music. Javier, though, did recall seeing the Mavs 20 years ago at Billy Bob’s Texas during his TCU days.

And on the way to the elevator after the show, there was a gentleman in a wheelchair just enamored with the band. He had gotten his first glimpse and listen of the Mavericks from their recent PBS special. He was filled with excitement after the show. I expect he’ll be at more concerts in the future.

So, I could go into a long, drawn-out review trying to remember as much of the set-list as possible. (They did play a lot of music!) Eddie is still is the best guitarist out there. Paul still drums like a beast. McFadden still tickles them ivories oh so well. The horn section which includes Max Abrams on the sax still wails. Michael Guerra is still a squeezebox master. Robert is still the funny guy and strummer. Filling that bass line quite well is Jay Weaver. And Raul Malo still mesmerizes the crowd with some amazing vocals.

That said, a good mix of the new and old is what folks in Austin, Fort Worth, Helotes and the rest of the cities in the tour should expect. Go check ‘em out! And if you haven’t purchased “In Time,” get it!

 

About these ads

DC Review: SIGGNO En Vivo

Tex-Mex showband and Latin Grammy winners Siggno just released their long-awaited live album, “En Vivo.” Recorded in multiple cities, including Houston and Laredo, Jesse Turner and his tight-knit band give us a good live recording–as good as their live shows, which are really good. Kudos to Freddie Records for some great post-production work.

siggnoFans who love them will miss the light and pyro show they sometimes bring with them, but what listeners will definitely not miss is the power-drumming of Joey Jimenez and the rock-n-bajo of Richard Rosales. And what listeners definitely get is a drive through Siggno’s 14-year career, with recent hits like Mi Mundo Se Acabo and Yo Quisiera Detenerte and earlier hits like Pero Hablama and Estupida. Other hits, like Mejor Dimelo, and Ya No Me Importa will definitely keep hard-core fans happy. The album even has a tear-jerker part in which band leader Turner dedicates Mama to his mom.

What many fans were awaiting was the release of four new tracks. Getting much airplay and YouTube hits is En La Basura. Enamorados, Tonto Corazon, and Duele definitely have the potential to be fan favorites.

All-in-all, it’s a great collector’s item and cruising partner for those sunny Sundays.

 

 

 

DC Reviews ~ Flaco Jimenez and Max Baca – Legends and Legacies

The good folks at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings continue to invest in nuestra cultura, and that’s a good thing. Accordion King Flaco Jimenez, and Bajo Sexto Master Max Baca have collaborated on a very special production, Legends and Legacies.

SFW40569No doubt, there is a back story to this production as some of these are classic songs once recorded by Flaco’s dad, Santiago Jimenez, Sr. 70 years into his career, Flaco is among the legends of Tex-Mex, much like his father. For Baca, it is an opportunity to take his place as part of a legacy in the Tex-Mex genre having grown up as a part of Flaco’s musical family–even calling him a father figure in his life. And for listeners, we get the opportunity to enjoy some hard-core Tex-Mex conjunto music with some amazing button-acordeon from the legend and some of the most dexterous bajo sexto shredding from Baca.

A few songs are recorded in “fire-side” style–bajo, acordeon, and upright bass, such as the classic Margarita, Margarita, Me Voy Lejos, Mi Primer Amor, Los Amores de Jose, Jardin de las Flores, Morena Morenita, and a favorite, Beer-Drinking Polka.

When you add some drums to the mix, you get some powerful polkas rancheras, like Cada Vez Que Cae La Tarde, El Pesudo, Borradita Diente de Oro (The DC favorite), El Parrandero, the funny Brincando Cercas, and the even funnier La Viejita. La Nueva Zenaida and Ay Te Guacho Cucaracho will definitely be crowd favorites.

Cumbia lovers get the tried and true, La Mucura. The closer is another favorite, Fiesta Alegre.

And yes, in case you weren’t counting, that’s seventeen (17) tracks, which makes this production a lot more awesome than most. Seldom do we get this many classic tracks which are given the musical respect they deserve. Baca’s bajo sexto complements Flaco’s acordeon, and vice-versa. More than anything, it seems this duo is trying to school us on from where it is our music has come because it’s always good to come home to our roots. And to take from the liner notes”:

A common goal of Flaco and Max is to gain respect for their musical legacy beyond their Texas Mexican community while making the point that the roots traditions of all people deserve that same respect. “There’s a space for all kinds of  music,” Flaco says, emphasizing that he respects other musics and the people who carry them on in the space where “les nace” (they are born). He is pleased that his efforts have led people of other cultures to play his music: “There are Japanese, Italian conjuntos. In Paris, too. They play well because they emulate the roots that we have here in San Antonio.”

Rounding out the studio line-up are Flaco’s son, David on the drums, and Texmaniac, Oscar Garcia on the bass.

 

NPR had a great report on the new production last week. Give it a listen. It’s good for those who need to be schooled on Tex-Mex conjunto music.

The new music is available at Itunes and directly from Smithsonian Folkways.

Interesting Project for Jay Perez

Hector Saldaña of the San Antonio Express-News gives us a look into some upcoming projects for recent Latin Grammy nominee Jay Perez.

Thanks to a newly inked deal with Freddie Records in Corpus Christi, a career-spanning new album (“Back in the Day”) and anthology project are in the works as follow-ups to the Latin Grammy-nominated “New Horizons,” Perez’s first on the label.

“Back in the Day” is due in November.

With [producer Gilbert] Velasquez’s help, Perez not only re-recorded essential hits — from his early solo career, with Latin Breed and David Lee Garza y Los Musicales — but meticulously re-created them.

“The concept was to do something old school and fresh,” said Perez. “I wanted something for the fans, especially younger one that aren’t familiar with those groups.”

Since he didn’t own the original master tapes, he had no other choice for such a collection.

I must say that I’m excited. I’ve been a fan of Perez ever since a friend of mine loaned me a cassette of Latin Breed’s “Breakin’ the Rules” back in the late 80s. Soon after, Perez appeared on a Tejano Music Awards program fronting the legendary band and belting out some classics–and quite well, I might add.

Two albums with David Lee Garza y Los Musicales later, he had basically solidified himself as a premier Onda Tejana vocalist. And much like others had done after some success with “DLG,” went on to a solo career.

I had the opportunity to check out one of his early solo shows when he played at one of the barns behind the Freeman Coliseum in SA during their Rodeo. He blew the crowd away, even with gaudy pink lights backstage that spelled out “J A Y.”

Along with the new project is a “Behind The Music” kind of DVD.

The VH-1 “Behind the Music”-style DVD is nearly finished.

“For someone that’s a real fan, it’s great. Freddie’s got the right idea,” Velasquez added about the upcoming anthology.

As to why Perez deserves his Tejano nickname, “The Voice,” Velasquez didn’t mince words.

“It’s his ability to sing. He’s got that classic thing. He was able to combine the Tejano sound with the R&B sound with his voice,” he said.

And that’s why the rest of us are big fans of Jay’s.  It’s definitely the voice.

Again, check out the rest of the article for more on Perez and his musical stylings.

DC Reviewed Music Among Latin Grammy Nominees

I’ve been watching the announcements from various musical performers who have been nominated for a Latin Grammy this year and I finally checked the entire list.  It turns out that among the nominees are Tejano and Regional Mexican artists that DosCentavos reviewed. Congrats to the DC Reviewed nominees, including:

Best Mexican Regional Album 
Intocable – En Peligro de Extincion (DC Review)
 
Best Tejano Album
David Lee Garza – Just Friends (DC Review)
Los Texmaniacs -  Texas Towns and Tex-Mex Sounds  (DC Review)
Jay Perez – New Horizons (DC Review)
 
Best Regional Mexican Song
Jay Perez – Tu Ultima Cancion (Songwriter: Adalberto Gallegos)

And a special congrats to Adalberto Gallegos. On top of being one of the best vocalists in the industry, he can write some amazing songs, too. All that’s left to be said is…can I pick ‘em or what?

adalberto

DC Reviews: Johnny Hernandez ~ Aventurero

I like to boast that a Onda Chicana legend is a  friend of mine–I actually met Johnny Hernandez a couple of years ago and we like to chat about music and politics on Facebook. Well, the legendary crooner is back with a new production, Aventurero. Released on his own Stronghold Records, the full-length CD satisfies all types of musical tastes, but, ultimately, it’s Hernandez’s unique voice that delivers for music lovers.

Continue reading

Thousands Attend Tejano MusicFest

While some of my friends were getting some all-new Dem training this weekend, I was proud to be among thousands at the Humble Civic Arena for the first Tejano MusicFest–around 5,000 or so. Thousands attended to be entertained by musical greats, such as Fito Olivares, Jay Perez, Emilio Navaira, and home-town heroes La Mafia. Frankly, I needed some culture in my life and the MusicFest was the shot in the arm I needed.

Continue reading

DC Reviews ~ Intocable – En Peligro De Extincion

Wow!

That was my initial reaction to the intro to the first track, Nos Falto Hablar. With its obvious rock influences throughout the track, its soaring vocals and harmonies, it became obvious that Intocable had come up with something special for their new CD, En Peligro de Extincion (Universal Music).

The rock intros continue in the cumbia, Como Se Fue Ella, with a bold, tough beat offered through serious drum and percussion beats, this track offers some excellent lyrics. The ranchera Decidimos (Bien o Mal) has a smoother intro,  which immediately turns into a “rola bien Intocable” with its own rock influences evident in its hard drumming and pasadas on the bajo sexto.

Continue reading

DC Reviews ~ Los Palominos – Siente El Amor

Los Palominos are back with a new production on Houston’s Urbana Records, Siente El Amor. Produced by La Mafia founder Armando Lichtenberger, this newest release from the Arriola brothers of Uvalde, TX is strong and puro Palominos.

The formula for Los Palominos has not changed much since their founding–strong vocal harmonies, some great melodies on the acordeon, and an excellent rhythm section. Together, they’ve put out some of the most memorable tunes. And this CD will have some equally memorable ones.

Continue reading

DC Reviews ~ The Mavericks – In Time

Those who follow me on Facebook know I have The Mavericks on heavy rotation with my YouTube reposts, so, it is known that the anticipation of the arrival of The Mavericks’ In Time was wearing me out. A quick trip to Target at 9AM this morning and there it was! Already on replay #5, I can honestly say that I don’t foresee any future boredom–it is that good!

Back in July, I reviewed their extended play CD, so we know how good that one was and the five tracks from the EP are included on In Time, but the nine newer tracks are just as amazing. Kudos to Valory Music Company for supporting The Mavericks–good choice!

One track that has been the band’s 2nd song at concerts lately is the rockabilly-tinged Lies, which with some excellent guitars and a strong, soaring beat, will be a favorite. Lead vocalist Raul Malo wastes no time in showing off his range in the ballad In Another’s Arms. It’s haunting drum beats and piano are complimented by a break that highlights a beautiful string arrangement. Fall Apart is a fun and danceable break-up song, if you can believe that. The soaring chorus, horn section, and acordeon solo from San Antonio’s Michael Guerra will keep you humming–even after the first five listens.

All Over Again offers a recognizable Mavericks rhythm, but now with a very noticeable acordeon. There’s no doubt, as the LA Times keeps pointing out, that the Cuban crooner and the band cross genres and even add a dash of Tex-Mex. Malo belts out the ballad, Please Heart Forgive Me, in fine fashion, but As Long As There’s Loving Tonight and Dance In The Moonlight will rev you right back up.

And as the LA Times points out, the 8-minute epic that is (Call Me) When You Get to Heaven is powerful and displays all of the musicians talents, but it is the background vocals of the McCrary Sisters which adds a level of gospel to the tune that is much appreciated. As the tune ends, and even though it is lengthy, you still want more.

One of the tunes off of the EP is re-done in Español, Ven Hacia Mi (Come Unto Me). The tune just reminds me of how Malo pokes fun at some of the folks who are mesmerized by his Spanish-language songs. “I don’t know what he’s saying, but it sounds so romantic.” Thankfully, this tune delivers the right message.

The reunion was a long time in coming, but In Time is definitely a celebration of 20 years of flawless music.  One test of recorded material is a bands ability to reproduce it live. I’ve seen Raul, Eddie, Paul, Roberto, Jerry Dale, Michael, Elio and the various horn players perform some of these tunes live and they definitely deliver just as good live than in the studio. Now it’s your turn to deliver for them and purchase this CD!