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The Best of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitl n
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Album: The Best of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitl n: Ultimate Collection
# Song Title   Time
1)    La Negra
2)    Alma Llanera
3)    Camino Real de Colima
4)    Cielito Lindo
5)    Como Han Pasado los Anos
6)    El Becerro
7)    El Zopilote Mojado
8)    Guadalajara
9)    La Bamba
10)    La Bikina
11)    La Feria de las Flores
12)    Las Mananitas
13)    Las Olas
14)    Lindas Mexicanas
15)    Los Arrieros
16)    Que Bonita es Mi Tierra
17)    Cafe Colon
18)    El Relampago
19)    El Tren
20)    Sentimento
 
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Performer Notes
  • In a perfect world, Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitl n -- Mexico's ultimate mariachi band -- would have been recorded extensively during their very early years. But it took them almost 40 years to make their first recording; formed in 1898, Mariachi Vargas didn't do any recording until 1937. Of course, only the most hardcore mariachi/ranchera collectors and historians lament the fact that there are no Mariachi Vargas recordings from 1899 or 1900 -- and instead of worrying about the absence of 1899-1936 recordings by the group, casual fans of regional Mexican music are more likely to feel intimidated by the abundance of recordings they made from 1937 on and wonder what, in God's name, would be a good starting point. When a band makes its recording debut in 1937 and is still recording in the 21st century, there is certainly a lot to choose from. One of the Mariachi Vargas CDs that casual listeners can't go wrong with is this 20-song, 59-minute collection, which RCA/BMG assembled in 2004. The mariachi institution is in fine form on all this material, which includes performances of well-known standards like Quirino Mendoza's "Cielito Lindo," Pepe Gu¡zar's "Guadalajara," Rub‚n Fuentes' "La Bikina," and Lu¡s Mart¡nez Serrano's "La Bamba" (a gem that rock & rollers associate with Ritchie Valens' late-'50s version). These are songs that anyone with even a basic knowledge of classic Mexican music will recognize -- they're songs that are as important to mariachi and ranchera artists as the Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk songbooks are to jazz improvisers, and the songs are in very capable hands when Mariachi Vargas embraces them. Regrettably, this release doesn't have any liner notes or recording dates, but the inspired performances and RCA/BMG's skillful digital remastering are nothing to complain about -- and while The Best of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitl n: Ultimate Collection is by no means the last word on their recorded legacy, it can be a highly rewarding introduction to their RCA output. ~ Alex Henderson
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