The legendary Johnny Hernandez returns with a new release, Gracias, Por Todos Los Exitos, a compilation of hits, as well as six newly recorded tracks. Hernandez was in town a few weeks ago at Donerakis-Gulf Gate to perform some of those hits and put on a great show.
His newest hit receiving airplay is Gracias–the title track. Produced by Grammy winner Gilbert Velasquez and backed up by some of the best session players in the genre, the new ranchera flows like Johnny’s tunes usually do–smooth and driven by a great horn section. Johnny hasn’t lost his vocal touch, either.
Track #2 is a Johnny Hernandez classic from when he was performing with “Third Coast,” Canta Canta. I was thinking of dusting off the cassette, but this re-done version suits me just fine. Johnny adds a couple of classic ballads to the mix, Por Un Amor and El Rebelde, which have been performed by so many others, but Johnny delivers them with the same emotion and ganas as when he performed them during his La Familia days.
One of my favorites is a classy bolero, Mil Besos. With its strong lyrics, such as, “Y si es pecado amarte, yo seguire pecando, ¿por que lo he de negar?” one can’t help but feel the love. Finally, an old hit, Ramona, closes up the re-done and new tunes, with a strong brass section.
Johnny was careful to pick some of his greatest hits to fill in the rest of the CD, including Diganle, El Rancho Grande, Al Pie De Este Arbol, and a couple of personal favorites, Caracoles and No Me Hagas Menos.
Watching Johnny reproduce the vocals live the other day tells me he’s still got it. And Gracias, Por Los Exitos is definitely a celebration of Johnny’s career and music.
On a side note, it was great finally meeting one of my heroes de la onda Chicana. A fan ever since my Pop would listen to “Las Nubes” back in the day, and continuing on through his solo career, I had missed a couple of opportunities to meet him, but have been especially honored to have a few great chats with him on Facebook–especially about La Politica y La Raza.
Let’s hope he gets back to Houston, and soon!