Album Reviews

Flaco Jimenez y Tomas Ortiz – de Los Alegres de Teran (Arhoolie Records)

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Flaco Jimenez y Tomas OrtizThis came out originally in 2005 on Flaco’s label, but the limited release sold out quickly; the album was never again available until now.  These are 2 of the best known names in Norteno music: accordionist Flaco Jimenez and songwriter Tomas Ortiz.  Flaco was the better known in the U.S. because of his work with artists like Ry Cooder, Dwight Yoakam, and the Doug Sahm-led Texas Tornados.  Tomas was a star in Mexico popularizing, with his group, Los Alegres de Teran, the music that is today known as Musica Nortena.  

When you start investigating the music, you immediately light up: “Oh yeah, I remember this when I when flicking through the dial came upon the Spanish Language stations and my ear was caught.”  Songs such as “El Amour No Se Vende”,  and “Tierra Mala” with their catchy rhythms and their horns jump out; and “Quiero Verte Otra Vez,” with its lingering sadness.  Though you may not understand this particular language, the feel of the music comes through.  

This is the music of the border and the melding of cultures that goes on there.  You hear the influences of all those on the border and the emotions come through even if you don’t understand the language.

– Bob Gottlieb

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