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.
Hernandez launches the CD with the Rene Serrata hit, Tu Vestido Blanco. We’ve heard different versions of this tune, but with vocal harmonies and a horn section, well, it’s just something special. The horn-driven ranchera stylings continue with La Valentina, with its valiant chorus about fighting for the one he loves. The next tune was a reminder of the 80s for me as Acurrucate was one of my favorite tunes as performed by former Royal Jester Dimas Garza. Johnny doesn’t disappoint on this version.
Eso Nadie Me Lo Quita is definitely one of my favorites on this production with its powerful horn intro and Johnny’s strong vocals. Recordando is slightly different as a keyboard-driven ranchera with more vocal harmonies, but its message is all about love. The sax-driven title track (Aventurero), though, is one for the books and quickly became my theme-song, being the single guy I am.
Johnny also gives us a cumbia with Flores, Belleza y Amor, but it is the Cuco Sanchez classic, La Que Sea, that made my Top 2. There’s no doubt you might see me singing this ballad in Houston traffic. Another ballad, Tu Decision, provides us some romance with a bilingual hook. Last, but not least, the CD closes with a classic by The Moonglows, but made famous by the McGuire Sisters, Sincerely. The harmonies and do-wops are definitely a welcome addition to make its delivery, well, sincere.
It would be easy to say that Johnny Hernandez is back, but he’s never left us. I’m looking forward to his return trip to the Houston area so we can hear these tunes live. And if you don’t trust my judgment, then you can trust the opinion of another legend, Emilio Castillo, the founder and leader of the legendary Tower of Power (yes, THAT Tower of Power). He has given the CD his “Seal of Approval,” too.