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World - Released January 1, 2008 | Disa, LLC

Regional Mexican music has evolved considerably over the years, but thankfully, corridos (Mexican folk ballads) have never gone out of style; the first corridos were written in the 19th century, and corridos were as popular as ever in the late 2000s. There was a time when corridos were dominated by mariachi bands, but these days, corridos are just as likely to be performed by norteño, banda, or tierra caliente acts. And Grupo Montéz de Durango's Vida Mafiosa (Mafia Life) is an album of corridos performed by a leading duranguense outfit. There is some banda influence on this 2008 release; Montéz's extensive use of trombone adds some banda-ish brassiness to the equation. Nonetheless, duranguense is the main ingredient on Vida Mafiosa, which doesn't offer narcocorridos exclusively but has its share of them. Narcocorridos (corridos about drug smuggling) have been as controversial in regional Mexican music as gangsta rap is in hip-hop, but outlaw themes were plentiful in corridos long before Los Tigres del Norte and others started recording narcocorridos -- and there are certainly parallels between outlaw country and the outlaw imagery that is prominent on Vida Mafiosa. Think of outlaw country classics like Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," Marty Robbins' "Big Iron," and Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues"; a similar narrative style prevails on "El Último Contrabando" (The Final Contraband), "De Durango Hasta Chicago" (From Durango to Chicago), and other corridos that Grupo Montéz perform on this 29-minute CD. In duranguense circles, there has been much discussion of the lineup changes that have taken place in Grupo Montéz; several of the group's ex-members (including former lead singer Alfredo Ramírez Corral) became a part of Los Creadorez del Pasito Duranguense de Alfredo Ramírez in the 2000s. But Vida Mafiosa is a fine example of what Grupo Montéz have to offer in a post-Ramírez incarnation, and it is a rewarding, if brief, demonstration of how attractive a combination of corridos and duranguense can be. ~ Alex Henderson
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Latin America - Released January 1, 2006 | Disa

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World - Released January 1, 2007 | Disa, LLC

By the mid-2000s there was no shortage of Duranguense groups cropping up all over (especially in Chicago, where the style originated). Yet when the bands are as fine as Grupo Montéz de Durango, who can complain? Outfitted in white 10-gallon hats and wielding a rousing blend of traditional Mexican folk and merengue rhythms, Grupo Montéz take no prisoners on Agarrese. Tunes such as "El Hijo del Amor" and "El Chivo Pelon" kick up dirt in classic Duranguense style, but Grupo Montéz can lay down a ballad with the best of them, too.
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Latin America - Released January 1, 2004 | Disa, LLC

A romping, stomping, triumphant summation of Grupo Montez's first decade as one of the premier Norteno outfits to tour the United States, EN VIVO DESDE CHICAGO is as much fun to listen to as it must have been to experience firsthand. This collection of well-known hits, including "Pasito Duranguense" and "Colonia Hidalgo, Durango Querido," was recorded with the band at full tilt in front of an adoring home crowd, overseen by an exuberant MC--the group's founder, Jose Luis Terrazas. Terrazas and company tear their way through a catalog that includes the breakout hit "Lagrimas De Cristal," pausing for breath only on the mellow "Hoy Empieza Mi Tristeza," which finds the band in an uncharacteristically reflective mood. Manic percussion, booming tuba two-steps, and boundless energy characterize this wild, celebratory live performance, which should net the group a host of new fans on both sides of the border.
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Latin America - Released January 1, 2006 | Disa, LLC

Never mind the matching cowboy hats and monochromatic dress shirts, Grupo Montez de Durango turn out traditional norteño without the slightest trace of pop gloss or commercial pretense. On Borron y Cuenta Nueva, Grupo Montez ply their specialty: rancheras and corridos, with the occasional cumbia and polka thrown in for good measure. There isn't a synthesizer or contemporary production flourish anywhere on the disc to detract from the simple, authentic sound of horns and acoustic guitars.
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World - Released January 1, 2002 | Disa

Latin America - Released January 1, 2006 | Disa

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