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Don Santiago Jimenez - First And Last Recordings

CAT. #: 414


Price: $15.00

CD 414

Santiago Jiménez - accordion & vocals; with
(#1-12): LeonardoFlacoJiménez - bajo sexto and second voice; Juan Viesca - string bass. Recorded in San Antonio in 1979 by Chris Strachwitz.
(#13-25): with Jesús Via - bajo sexto, and Santiago Morales - string bass.

1.La Dueña De La Llave ‚ (ranchera) (2:57)
2.La Tuna ‚ (vals bajito) (2:20)
3.Eres Un Encanto ‚ (ranchera) (2:21)
4.Antonia De Mis Amores ‚ (vals ranchero) (3:35)
5.El Satelite ‚ (polka) (2:26)
6.Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio ‚ (ranchera) (2:51)
7.El Primer Beso ‚ (vals ranchera) (2:19)
8.Las Godornises ‚ (mazurka) (2:32)
9.Vive Feliz ‚ (vals ranchera) (3:44)
10.Los Gallineros ‚ (polka) (2:18)
11.Zulema ‚ (redova) (2:37)
12.Que Bonito Este Querer ‚ (ranchera) (2:47)
13.Dices Pescao ‚ (polka) (2:33)
14.La Tuna ‚ (vals bajito) (2:24)
15.La Luisita ‚ (polka) (2:34)
16.Atotonilco ‚ (polka) (3:06)
17.Marfa ‚ (polka) (2:51)
18.Gran Polka Moderna ‚ (polka) (2:43)
19.Calabazas A Mi Negra ‚ (polka) (2:51)
20.Comadre, Tengame El Niño ‚ (vals) (2:56)
21.Sal Si Puede ‚ (polka) (2:28)
22.Vengo A Ver Unos Ojos ‚ (polka) (2:38)
23.El Aguacero ‚ (polka) (2:28)
24.La Madera ‚ (polka) (2:26)
25.Tenmela Hay ‚ (polka) (2:22)

REVIEW

“Is it possible to overstate the importance of Don Santiago Jimenez? His recordings from the '30s helped spread the popularity of conjunto. He was the father of two of today's biggest names in conjunto, Flaco and namesake Santiago Jr. Both are outstanding artists, Flaco taking conjunto accordion into fresh styles and to new audiences, Santiago remaining staunch in his support of the old-time style. Both brothers have inherited their talent directly, not only from a legendary father, but a grandfather, an accordionist of equivalent popularity in his day, as well. This is a reissue of an earlier Arhoolie release that turned out to be Don Santiago's final recordings and early 78s from 1937 and '38.

The collection works backwards in time, with the last recordings coming first. Flaco joins his father, not on second accordion, but bajo sexto (it is common for conjunto players to be masters of all the instruments) and harmony vocals. Don Santiago preferred to focus on playing or singing, not trying to do both as most do today. When he and Flaco sing in duet, the accompaniment is plain chording from the bajo and a little subtle bass, letting the close harmonies shine.

The instrumentals show a startling contrast to today's virtuosos. There are plenty of fancy players, but you don't often hear the popular young ones tackling complex numbers like Don Santiago's `La Tuna.' Please note that he does all this with a two-row rather than three-row accordion.

Acoustic bass players should listen to the later recordings which are a great showcase for the late lamented Juan Viesca. The stand-up bass has disappeared from modern conjuntos, prey to the late 20th century myth that volume is power. Listen to the slapping and swatting, the expression Viesca gave while maintaining perfect time. Yes, the legends are true, he used to set his bass on fire. Viesca was a wild man right up to the end, lovable and crazy, full of music.

Except for the difference in recording quality, it would be hard to tell the '30s recordings from the last ones, certainly the accordion doesn't give it away. The biggest difference is the old style of bajo sexto accompaniment. It was much fancier than heard today, with ornamental runs threaded over the rock solid rhythm.”

(Mary Armstrong — SingOut!)