25th February, 2005

Wiki | Video

From the opening notes, it's clear that Juan Dominguez and his men have no interest in playing the pop game of keeping up with trends and changing with the times: they're keeping on keeping on, sounding almost exactly like they would have in 1988, with perhaps fuller production and a little more grain in Tony Melendez's voice, but otherwise unchanged.

The previous time we heard them, Félix Contreras was playing an accordion, and this time he's playing a Casio keyboard, which means that "Hoy Como Ayer" (today like yesterday) isn't technically conjunto chihuahuense, but a regional ballad. It's a very good regional ballad, possibly the best we've heard since the 1990s, but it's a rapidly-vanishing tradition, at least at the #1 spot.

The song's melody is as sturdy and repetitive as a hymn's, and there's a churchy stateliness to the entire proceedings, punctuated only by Dominguez' sensual saxophone solos. Whether Conjunto Primavera knew they had a hit and invested it with all the dramatic tension at their disposal or whether the high drama of the production was what made it a hit is an open question; either way, it's a late classic in a style that dominated the early and mid 1990s in this travelogue, the likes of which it's doubtful we'll run across again.

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