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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Vicente Fernández

By Ernest Barteldes
Published April 3, 2007

The Living Legend
Norte/Sony BMG

To celebrate the ongoing legacy of “The Sinatra of Rancheras,” Vicente Fernandez’s label has released a deluxe boxed set that offers a thin but still impressive overview of his career for longtime fans and newbies alike. The set, which also also contains a book with a brief bio, photos and the covers of his many albums, is divided into three CDs, each of which covers a different theme. The first, “Mexico Lindo Y Querido,” contains tunes that speak of the beauties and the heartbreaks that happen within his native land. “Mares De Tristeza” (Seas of Sadness) speaks of having one’s heart torn from one’s chest due to a love that is gone, and “Guadalajara” is a cheerful tune about the singer’s native land, “which I will never forget.” “A Tu Salud” (To Your Health) is all about drinking oneself into oblivion in order to forget doomed love affairs. On “La Misma” (The Same), the singer begs the bartender to serve him another shot while demanding a Mariachi play “that same song again.” Other songs follow in a similar mood, and titles such as “El Derrotado” (The Loser), “Ingrato Amor” (Ungrateful Love) and “Con Una Copa De Vino” (With A Glass of Wine), are self-explanatory. The collection ends with “Mujeres Divinas” (Divine Women), which contains songs of love won and lost. “Amar Y Vivir” (To Love and To Live) hails the importance of loving in a man’s life, doing so “without regrets—you only live once.” In “Me Quedan Todas” (They All Leave Me) is a lament about a hopeless man who gives his heart to women, only to have it broken every single time. In “Collar de Perlas” (String of Pearls), he sings of making a necklace out of the tears he shed “for losing you.”