24th July, 2004

Wiki | Video

We first encountered Los Temerarios in 1997, singing a 1977 Vicente Fernández ballad. Now, seven years later, we meet them again, singing a 1990 Vicente Fernández ballad. That's not all they ever do, of course (we met them again in 1998 with an original), but it's apparently what the most people wanted out of them during the few particular weeks when nothing else was grabbing as many people's fancy.

Their 2004 album, Veintisiete, was as the title suggests their twenty-seventh album, and the image of the two bandleaders, brothers Adolfo and Gustavo Ángel Alba (Gustavo sings, Adolfo is the musical director) in sepiatone on the cover is an indication that it's an album of covers: not only Vicente Fernández but Juan Gabriel, Pedro Infante, and Cornelio Reyna are among the mariachi and ranchera classics the Ángel Alba boys tackle.

As with their 1997 cover, it's a perfectly adequate reading of a song that, not being Vicente, Gustavo doesn't have the lungpower to make his own. It's a classic barroom tearjerker, the complaint of a man who has lost everything, including the respect of society, because he can't keep away from women. "Qué de raro tiene?" he asks: "what's strange about it?" -- that's just how men (weak) and women (temptresses) are. Which is of course profoundly misogynist, and Los Temerarios try to palliate that a bit by making the video about a love triangle in which the woman dies, breaking both men's hearts.

But misogynist or not, classic mariachi will not have a place much longer on this travelogue. I'm inclined to enjoy it, despite its political limitations, while it's here.

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