Category Archives: Reviews

DC Reviews: Intocable ~ XX ~ 20 Aniversario

I intocableremember it was 1995 at one of the big Tejano clubs in San Antonio. I took a night off from studying and made the trek from San Marcos to check out a young band that was gaining popularity. I had become an instant fan of Intocable when they released Fuego Eterno. Now, I got my chance to see them live and, man, did they tear the place up. It was like a rock show–lights, smoke, and yes, music.

Lead vocalist Ricky Muñoz gave the band his own voice and acordeón stylings and his band had their own sound. Norteño, yet with hard-driving drumming by Rene Martinez, tough bass lines, and a rock-tinged bajo sexto by Johnny Lee Rosas, it surely wasn’t your parents Ramon Ayala or norteño music. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a twenty year career has earned them millions of albums sold, sold out tours, seven Latin Grammys, and two Gringo Grammys, among other awards.

Twenty years later, the formula hasn’t changed, but they have pushed the envelope, whether through crossover anthems or through back-to-roots albums, or pop-flavored ballads. Twenty years later, they still sell-out huge venues in Mexico and the US–even taking their music to Colombia and Central America, and even The Greek in LA. And twenty years later, Intocable has given us the gift of a live album to celebrate their 20th anniversary.

Seldom do live albums take us from day 1 to today, but XX does. Starting with hits like Vete Ya, Parece Que No, and Coqueta, and on through Nos Falto Hablar and Culpable Fui, Intocable takes us through a career filled with memories and music–for the band and the listeners. Twenty live hits and an hour later it feels like one has gone through a powerful set.

The guys even add one de pilón; a cumbia titled Cajita de Carton.

Musically, the band is as tight as ever, even adding a second bajo sexto years ago to strengthen the sound. Listening to the old hits played by today’s Intocable standards is a treat that all will enjoy.

Anyway, it’s a must buy for the collection.

2015 will be a huge year for Intocable as they hit the road all over the country, but a few tour stops caught my eye:  2/13- Minneapolis; 2/27 – South Bend, IN; 2/28 – Detroit; March 1 – Queens, NY; March 21 – Bolivia. Hope the guys say hello to Evo Morales for me.

Intocable is:  Ricardo Muñoz, Rene Martinez, Sergio Serna, Johnny Lee Rosas, Juan Hernandez, and guest bajo, Alejandro Gulmar.

Track List:

1. Vete Ya
2. Parece Que No
3. Coqueta
4. Y Todo Para Que?
5. Llevame Contigo
6. Eres Mi Droga
7. Donde Estas?
8. Amor Maldito
9. Fuerte No Soy
10. Estas Que Te Pelas
11. Ensename A Olvidar
12. Suena
13. Eso Duele
14. Aire
15. Alguien Te Va A Hacer Llorar
16. Por Ella
17. Tu Adios No Mata
18. Robarte Un Beso
19. Nos Falto Hablar
20. Culpable Fui (Culpable Soy)
21. Cajita De Carton

The Annual “There’s No Tejano on Go Tejano Day” Post

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I’m telling you. The HoustonRodeo has made it clear that rodeo scholarships don’t go to undocumented students (not even LPRs!), but they get non-Tejano (Mexican banda music) bands that attract sell-out crowds of undocumented folks (among others) for “Go Tejano Day” that bring in a ton of cash for the HoustonRodeo. Talk about getting screwed in all directions. “We’ll take your money, but your kids don’t get squat!”

The Tex-Mex music genre known as Tejano is not respected by the Rodeo. Hell, it’s not respected by corporate radio because what once brought in ad money by the millions had the life squeezed out of it by corporate radio and money-grubbing major record labels that flooded the market, instead of nurturing the best of the best. Nowadays, most Tejano bands release material on indy labels, they gain popularity through nightclub and internet radio DJs, (and bloggers) and go through the daily grunt work of managing and booking themselves around the state and the US. Still, they attract nice-sized crowds, especially when music festivals like Festival Chicano go on for three days at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The genre isn’t dead. It didn’t die when Selena was murdered. What died was the cash infusion into greedy corporations. The music continues!

Anyway, the DosCentavos boycott of the HoustonRodeo continues for another year. Get me real Tejano (Tex-Mex) music on the big stage and maybe I’ll ruin my Justin ropers steppin’ on cow poop at the rodeo. Otherwise…

Local legendary DJ Jumpin’ Jess had a thought on this, too.

For now, here’s Los Texmaniacs playing before thousands at two A Prairie Home Companion broadcasts in Flagstaff, AZ and St. Paul MN.

*Thanks to Jose Manuel Diaz for the awesome “No Tejano for Consuela” meme.

 

 

DC Reviews ~ Siggno: Zodiacal

The new and highly anticipated release of Siggno’s Zodiacal happened on Tuesday and already it is #1 on iTunes. Let me tell you, fans and listeners will enjoy this new production recorded at Freddie Records and in Mexico at Los Temerarios’ recording studio.

Known for their heavy rhythm section and hard-driving tunes, Siggno doesn’t disappoint on Zodiacal. Vocally, though, it would seem to be lead vocalist Jesse Turner’s best effort yet. In fact, in a pre-release interview produced by the band, Turner states that after the vocal tracks were laid, the record company chiefs decided that much more could be brought out of him at the Mexico studio and Turner went through the motions to re-record the vocals. Apparently, Turner struck gold as he seems to give it all he’s got vocally.

Siggno has assembled some great composers for this album, giving this new set of songs some lyrical maturity. One can notice this on rancheras Asi Sera, Inevitable and El Vaso Derrama, on the cumbia Sin Nada Que Perder, and the ballad Te Llevare.

Overall, Zodiacal is a powerful and diverse mix of tunes that keeps one toe-tapping and wanting for a dance floor. The waltzy Tus Labios could be a good live tune, while the uptempo cumbia Un Monton De Estrellas will keep folks dancing. My favorite tune, thus far, is the ranchera Y A El Si, with the excellent drumming of Joey Jimenez and the creative bajo playing of Richard Rosales, which actually, is evident in every tune on the album.

No doubt, this production has something for all ears and will be a fan favorite on both sides of the border. The good thing about Siggno is that they are more than able to reproduce the sound on stage, so, I’m looking forward to hearing the new music in a live setting.

Get your copy today!

Tejano Music Awards Announces Top 5 Nominees

From the inbox:

San Antonio, TX (09-09-2014) Texas Talent Musicians Association (TTMA), producers of the 34th Annual Tejano Music Awards Show, has named the top contenders for awards in 12 categories at this year’s ceremonies, set for Saturday, September 20, 2014 at the Lila Cockrell Theatre.

Nominees include fan favorites Bobby Pulido, Elida Reyna y Avante, Shelly Lares, Ruben Ramos, Intocable, David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, Jesse Turner of Grupo Siggno ,Stefani Montiel, Patsy Torres, Solido, Johnny Hernandez and Albert Zamora. Leading the way with the most Nominations are Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz, Elida Reyna, Shelly Lares, David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, Ricky Valenz, Albert Zamora with recognition in various categories.

Special Lifetime Achievement Award honorees include Jimmy Edward, from the original Latin Breed and Bobby Butler aka “El Charro Negro”, from Tortilla Factory considered musical trendsetters of the 20th Century.

Live performances are planned at the 34th Annual Tejano Music Awards, including: Elida Reyna, Shelly Lares, Solido, Los Desperadoz, Stefani Montiel, Stephanie Lynn, Emilio Navaira, Lucky Joe, Sunny Sauceda, Eddie Gonzalez, Tortilla Factory, Patsy Torres,  David Marez, Jaime y Los Chamacos,  Albert Zamora and a special performance from Dwayne Verheyden from the Netherlands and many more surprise performances.

A Red Carpet Gala will precede the awards show where fans and media can greet the artists upon their arrival for Tejano music’s biggest night of the year, confirmed to walk the carpet Abel Talamantez, Angel Gonzlaez, Lisa Mar  Cacy Savala y Fuerzzo, Ricky Valenz, Sesi, Oscar G, Juan P Moreno, Tropa F, Tejano Roze, Marlissa Vela and many more.

For tickets to the 2014 Tejano Music Awards Show visits ticketmaster.com.  Prices range from $28 to $100 for VIP seating. For the latest updates and announcements on the 34th Annual Tejano Music Awards check the official TMA website at: TejanoMusicAwards.com.

Top 5 Nominees for this year’s 34th Annual Tejano Music Awards are…….

 

SONG OF THE YEAR
Accurrucate – Johnny Hernandez
Ella Sabe – David Lee Garza y Los Musicales
Muevelo Asi – Elida Reyna
Perdoname – Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz
Que Te Vas De Mi – Ricky Valenz
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Bobby Pulido
Gary Hobbs
Jimmy Gonzalez
Ricky Valenz
Ruben Ramos
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Cacy Savala
Elida Reyna
Patsy Torres
Shelly Lares
Stefani Montiel
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Albert Zamora
David Lee Garza
Elida Reyna
Jimmy Gonzalez
Shelly Lares
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – TEJANO
De Mi Corazon – Shelly Lares
El Tiempo Ha Llegado – Ricky Valenz
EYA Nation – Elida Reyna
Forever Mazz – Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz
Just Friends – David Lee Garza y Los Musicales
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – CONJUNTO
Ayer y Hoy – Albert Zamora
La Pura Verdad – Los Garcia Brothers
Mis Polkas Favoritas – Boni Mauricio
Puro Conjunto Carnal – Los Dos Gilbertos
Reedifica Su Musica – La Tropa F
ALBUM OF THE YEAR – NORTEÑO
En Peligro de Extencion – Intocable
Inolvidable – Solido
Libre Por Naturaleza – Duelo
Vamos Al 100 – Servando Ramos y Los Nuevos  Leones
VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR
Elida Reyna/Jesse Turner – Siempre Te Recordare
Jimmy Gonzalez/Elida Reyna – Canciones de Amor
Jimmy Gonzalez/Marcos Orozco – Cantinero
Shelly Lares/Ram Herrera – Baby Don’t Go
Stefani Montiel/Gabriel Zavala – Copa Tras Copa
BEST NEW ARTIST – MALE
Angel Gonzalez
Dwayne Verheyden
Frankie Caballero, Jr.
Lucky Joe
Rey Reyna
BEST NEW ARTIST – FEMALE (THERE WAS A TIE)
Crystal Torres
Laura McGill – La Distancia
Lisa Mar
Savannah
Silvia Navarro
Veronique Medrano
BEST NEW ARTIST – GROUP
Dwayne & The TexMexplosion
Grupo Imagen
Grupo Vidal
Marcos G. Orosco y Extremo
Zamorales

 

DC Reviews ~ Johnny Hernandez – Paz Mundial

johnnyhernandez5My favorite Onda Chicana legend is back with a new production recorded right here at Houston’s Jaz Trax Studio. Johnny Hernandez recently released the digital version of his newest CD, Paz Mundial, issued by his label, Stronghold Records. It’s available on CDBaby for your convenience. Hernandez released the title-track during Independence Weekend; a call for world peace, but also dedicated to those who serve in the military.

The Tejano music legend, recently nominated for three 2014 Tejano Music Awards for his last CD, Aventurero, worked with local producer/guitarist Vick “Nash” Espinoza on his latest work. Hernandez, known for his smooth, blues-infused vocals, is still on top of his game as a vocalist and performer and gave us another one to add to the collection.

With eight rancheras, two ballads, and the R&B-styled title track, the CD will leave folks more than satisfied. Add some horns, some great guitar, and some amazing harmonies and Hernandez has given us another winner.

The current single, Le Escribo Al Amor, is the kind of ranchera that established Johnny as a soloist and has already gotten his fans excited. Una Noche Mas and Cuando Me Vaya, with their horn-foundations and harmonies remind one of that big band sound from the 70s. Te Voy A Amar and Tonto are memorable rancheras with infusions of that R&B/old school sound. Quisiera is an acordeon-heavy Tejano tune with some amazing lyrics. Me Gusta and Ana round-out the rancheras and they are equally great.

All this said, the tune that really got me going was Cuando Yo Me Este Muriendo–one of those baladas rancheras that makes you break out the gritos and maybe shed some tears. Espinoza’s guitar and the horn section provide something close to a mariachi sound as the singer calls on his friends to not shed a tear when he dies, but to find a mariachi and celebrate. It’s definitely my kind of song. The CD closes with Cada Vez, a love ballad with beautiful piano accompaniment and a sax solo that all will enjoy.

As I’ve written before, Johnny is one of my Facebook friends and I got to actually met him a couple of years ago at a local gig. What he gives you in person, he gives you in his music–his heart and soul. So, Paz Mundial is a must-get for the collection.

johnnylinernotes

 

Thoughts on Viernes…07182014

Collier Set to Tour Texas

Mike Collier, Democrat for Texas Comptroller, is about to take off on a tour of Texas next week. For the next two weeks, Collier will hit around 36 cities and towns in a tour called the Texas Watchdog Tour. I’ll do an expanded post on the schedule this weekend, but make plans for Sunday’s send-off.

Who: Mike Collier, The Watchdog — Democratic candidate for Comptroller
What: Texas Watchdog Tour Kickoff
Where: Tin Roof BBQ, 18918 Town Center Blvd. Atascocita, TX 77346
When: Sunday, July 20 at 12:00 PM
 

National Democratic Leaders Support The Child Refugees

With immigration-related stuff hot in the news, it’s good to see nationally recognized Democratic leaders take a lead in actually offering services and shelter, rather than become immigration “experts” and offer nothing. Obviously, Texas’ own Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has done a great job. Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland has done a great job of taking on the Obama administration’s express deportation policies, while trying to protect the children from Murrieta-type hate in his own state. Now, Massachussets Governor Deval Patrick is offering up his state to child refugees. I hope we find more of these unafraid Dems, especially in Texas.

An Evening of Texican Rock and Roll

So, I caught West Texas Chicano rockers Los Lonely Boys at HOB last night. It was a flawless show, for sure. The Boys tested out five new tunes from their latest release, Revelation, and they were definitely crowd pleasers. Blame It On Love was my favorite, but Don’t Walk Away, So Sensual, and Give a Little More were just as perfect.

LLB dug into their first album, recorded over 11 years ago, and gave the crowd Crazy Dream, while closing with their top hit, Heaven, which became a sing-along. In between, the Boys offered a tribute to the late Johnny Winter, and in between tunes, they offered some musical interludes which showcased the guitaristics of Henry Garza, the massive bass sounds of JoJo Garza, and the powerful drumming of Ringo Garza. The brothers invited a percussionist whose name I didn’t catch (Longoria?), but he provided some powerful rhythms to most of LLB’s hits.

Great performance, great music, and they are coming to a town near you. Dallas (18th), El Paso (20th), then Califas for a while. Check out their tour.   And don’t forget to get their new album, Revelation!

Music Break ~ Los Lonely Boys – Give A Little More (Revelation)

DC Reviews: Gary Hobbs ~ Live From New West

Still riding high after over 30 years on the road, Tejano crooner Gary Hobbs, offers his fans a live album recorded at Dallas’ New West Night Club.

Full of hits from the 90s heyday of Tejano music, these remain on his nightly playlist. Hobbs hasn’t lost that golden voice and always has good musicians to back him up.

ghobbsThe CD kicks off with recent hit, Por Ti, and includes some acordeon-heavy tunes, like Tres Rosas and Buscando Un Amor. Gary Hobbs loyalists will never forget Las Miradas, Amame y Besame, Maldito Amor, and Vas A Pagar. Hobbs adds three memorable cumbias with Te Vas A AcordarPor Favor Corazon and Chiquitita, Chiquitita, which have always been fan favorites.

Thrown in from the 80s was one of my personal favorites, Diferentes.

Hobbs has remained a tried and true Tejano music ambassador, always staying true to the genre and taking it across the country. No doubt he’ll keep fighting to keep Tejano music alive and kicking.

This is definitely a collector’s item for loyal Gary Hobbs fans. Personally, I’ve been a fan since the early 80s. I’m willing to admit that at one time, I owned the 45 rpm of Contigo Aprendi when the band was called Brando Mireles and the Hot Sauce Band featuring Gary Hobbs. But that’s for another blog post.

Get yours today! It’s even on iTunes!

 

 

DC Reviews: La Mafia ~ Amor y Sexo

lamafia2After a long time without a studio album, the Pride of the Northside is back with the much anticipated Amor y Sexo. While the music is “pura Mafia” the playlist is a bit different.

As any Mafioso who grew up with them in the Tejano 80s, weathered their change to a more international sound in the 90s, and have enjoyed them bringing all of their sounds back into play in the 2000s, this new production was still a bit of a surprise.

Sure, there are three rancheras–more than usual; but only one cumbia. That’s right, four ballads, two valseadas and a jazzy dance tune round out a slightly different production, but one that keeps the Mafia sound intact.

Seria Mas Facil and Una Cancion Para Olvidar are strong horn-influenced and acordeon-infused rancheras. The latter has some powerful harmonies, too. The acordeon-heavy Protegere Nuestros Recuerdos is a short, but powerful ranchera about a loves end, but with some great memories stored away in case of a return.

Quiero Amarte is the sole cumbia with some pop influences that could make it a fan favorite when played live.  It’s already one of my favorites.

Among the ballads, Provocación is my favorite with its rising chorus and piano-led melody. A surprise tune is the horn-driven jazzy dance tune, Soy Facil, which translated is “I’m Easy.” Great guitar solo in this one. Todo Dama Lo Amerita offers a mariachi- and trio-esque international ballad which fans will enjoy. The opener, Me Mata, and Amor y Sexo are reminiscent of the 90s power ballads that put La Mafia on the international map.

No Me Abandones, restyled from a ranchera on 1989s Mafia Mania, is the quintessential booze-it-up valseada to beg a lover not to leave. Its horn and acordeón arrangements are superb. Adonde Va El Amor is a similarly-styled vals driven by the bajo and acordeon.

Big kudos to Oscar de la Rosa for continuing to school some of the new talent out there on how to sustain a voice 30-plus years later. Mando Lichtenberger deserves a lot of credit as the producer and arranger, too. These guys just haven’t lost their touch.

The new stuff is available on CD and MP3, so it’s available at your favorite big box or online store. Add it to your collection.

 

La Mafia’s New Album Set To Drop June 3

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Houston supergroup, La Mafia, is set to drop its first full-length production in six years on June 3rd.  Announced on their Facebook page, the new album is titled, Amor y Sexo.

Oscar de la Rosa and the band have been around for over 30 years. Dubbed, “the pride of the Northside,” La Mafia was one of the first Tejano bands to break into Mexico and the rest of the Americas. Recently, they have continued a busy touring schedule across the U.S.

Personal story:  The first time I caught La Mafia was around 1983 at the Crystal Ballroom in Crystal City–I was 12. The opening band was fronted by a talented 12-year old vocalist named Selena Quintanilla.

Fans may pre-order the new music on iTunes starting on May 5.

Expect a review right here on DosCentavos.net!

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!