DC Reviews…Joe Posada-Friends and Legends

The legendary Joe Posada has done it again. He took his regular formula of revamping some of his earlier hits, but instead of doing the vocals himself, he decided to make a story out of it by utilizing some legendary, newer, and future vocal stars: Sunny Ozuna, Jimmy Edward, Jay Perez, Chente Barrera, the sax of Panchito Villarrear, Sr., and his son, Joe, Jr. Stefani Montiel appears on one track providing background.

Jay Perez opens with Momento Para Siempre, a love song/ranchera where he proclaims his love. Of immediate note (other than Joe’s sax abilities) is the accordian playing of AJ Castillo, which appears in several more tracks in notable mode. Perez does not disappoint with his soaring vocals. Jimmy Edward and Posada team up for Como Pelota, which features the alto-sax of Panchito Villarreal. A danceable, boot-kickin’ polkita with barrioesque lyrics, Jimmy and Joe deliver it well. Also of note is the drumming of Grammy winner, Chente Barrera.

Made famous by his appearance on American Bandstand, Sunny Ozuna is still around and teams up with Posada on Botellas de Angustia. A song about drunkeness after being dumped, both vocalists deliver strongly, especially on those higher notes. Chente Barrera enters the fold and sings Como Le Haces with Posada. Another smooth ranchera, this track features the accordian technique of Castillo and the Sax-mastering of Posada leading into Barrera’s vocals. Exchanging stanzas, both hook up for the chorus, which sounds awesome!

Joe and Joe, Jr. pair up for De Tal Palo. This accordian-heavy ranchera is about a chip off the old block–a girl and her mom. So, that Joe and Jr. are singing this together is no accident. Castillo’s accordian, Chente’s drumming, and Max Baca’s bajo sexto round out this Posada classic. A track from his Una Noche DVD Special Concert, Posada revives and rejuvenates No Puedo Mas, a classy ranchera.

Posada digs deep into his bag of hits to also revive what I would call a Jazzano (Jazz-Tejano) song he did on a previous CD. Naciste de Un Sueño was a slow, jazzy track then and is now turned into a smooth ranchera, with Posada’s sax as the feature. He keeps the sax solo, which doesn’t change much, and at an up-tempo sounds even jazzier. Yo Fui El Culpable returns Jay Perez to his specialty–horn-heavy ranchera-ballads. Along with Posada, they make a great team at delivering what should be a classic duet. (I’m hoping it gets radio airplay!).

Then it’s cumbia time! Posada adds a funny track titled Me Dieron En La Torre, barrio-speak for “I got smacked.” In this case, by the husband of some flirty dance partner. Sunny O and Posada add some banter to make this a good radio tune. And it’s partly bilingual, “Andaba en la parranda, and I was feeling pretty nice…”. Jimmy Edward and Posada team up one more time for another ranchera, Borracho Fracasado. And Posada rounds out the CD with a cool, instrumental cumbia, Cumbia de Fiesta.

I must admit, it took a couple of listens to get to loving it. As a long-time Posada fan (since his “Una Lagrima Cayo en La Arena ’83 cassette!), I was used to his vocals on all his hits. With the help of guitarist and producer Gilbert Velasquez, he not only resurrected some old hits, he added some extra flavor with those Friends and Legends.

As I mentioned previously, there’s a story to this CD. All involved have this West Side San Antonio Connection. Either Posada venturing into a Sunny Ozuna rehearsal back in the day, or listening to Jimmy Edward and the Latin Breed LPs over and over again, to the more recent meetings with Chente as session players on various CDs, or first hearing of Jay Perez as a drummer for a garage band called Mysterio, which just happened to play at my cousin’s wedding a long, long time ago!

For Tejano music lovers, this is one CD to add to your collection. In fact, it’s one of those where you won’t have a problem adding all eleven tracks to your MP3 player. To read more about Posada, visit www.JoePosada.com.

Below: Joe Posada performs No Puedo Mas on his DVD:

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