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Latin America - Released January 1, 2009 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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World - Released January 1, 2005 | Univision Music

When connoisseurs of regional Mexican music are trying to explain norteño to non-Mexican listeners, they compare the polka-influenced, accordion-powered style to everything from gangsta rap to country -- gangsta rap because of all the narcocorridos (corridos about drug trafficking north and south of the United States/Mexico border) that los Tigres del Norte, Grupo Exterminador, and the late Chalino Sanchez are known for, country because of all the rural imagery, cowboy attire, and melancholy tales of heartbreak and unrequited love. And the country/honky tonk comparison certainly applies on Y Que el Mundo Ruede, which is another excellent album from the long-running norteño institution known as los Rieleros del Norte. This 2005 release is full of melancholy lyrics -- full of lágrimas y tristeza (tears and sadness) -- and los Rieleros once again remind you that emotions run deep in norteño music. This 12-song disc ranges from material by longtime Rieleros saxman Eugenio "Pemo" González to no less than six songs by Mexican pop superstar Juan Gabriel: "Ya No Me Vuelvo a Enamorar," "Cuando Decidas Volver," "Fue Un Placer Conocerte," "Se Me Olvido Otra Vez," "Tenias Que Ser Tan Cruel," and "Que el Mundo Ruede." Gabriel is not a norteño artist; his specialty is romantic Latin pop -- Latin adult contemporary, if you will -- and the male vocalists he is typically compared to include José José, Julio Iglesias, Joan Sebastían, and Marco Antonio Solís. But Gabriel has mariachi and ranchera influences, and his songs don't necessarily have to be performed in a pop fashion. In fact, they can easily lend themselves to a straight-up norteño arrangement, which is exactly what happens on this rewarding CD. Y Que el Mundo Ruede is yet another album that la Máquina Musical Norteña Número Uno can be proud of. ~ Alex Henderson
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Latin America - Released January 1, 2008 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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Latin America - Released January 1, 1998 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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World - Released January 1, 2003 | Fonovisa, Inc.

In Spanish, the title Abriendo Caminos means "opening roads," which is los Rieleros del Norte's way of saying that the band was continuing to evolve when it recorded this CD in 2003. It isn't a radical evolution by any means; Abriendo Caminos is actually quite similar to the albums that they provided back in the '80s. However, the band has had some lineup changes along the way; on Abriendo Caminos, the 2003 lineup ranges from young newcomers Javier Esquivel and Daniel Esquivel Jr. to older members Daniel Esquivel Sr. (lead vocals, accordion), Pemo Gonzales (sax), and Alfredo Esquivel (drums). The younger members weren't even born when bassist Manolo Morales founded the band in Pecos, TX, in 1979; regardless, Abriendo Caminos is state-of-the-art Rieleros del Norte -- exuberant, heartfelt, and emotional norteño/Tex-Mex that combines Mexican ranchera with the German polka beat. Despite the addition of two younger members, this CD is hardly a radical departure from the time-tested Rieleros sound -- and that's probably for the best. Abriendo Caminos tends to be predictable, but it's predictably rewarding. In one sense, hearing Rieleros on this CD is a lot like obtaining a new album by a well-established veteran jazz artist like Scott Hamilton or Phil Woods; you don't expect a ton of surprises, but you know that you can expect quality (which is exactly what los Rieleros offer on Abriendo Caminos). Los Rieleros have long since earned a reputation for being highly consistent, and Abriendo Caminos does nothing to damage that reputation. This CD isn't quite essential, but longtime fans will find it to be a solid, worthwhile addition to the band's sizable catalog. ~ Alex Henderson
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World - Released January 1, 2008 | Fonovisa

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Latin America - Released January 1, 2000 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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Latin America - Released January 1, 2013 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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Latin America - Released January 1, 2010 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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Latin America - Released January 1, 2004 | Fonovisa, Inc.

If you appreciate norteño music -- either as a hardcore fan or a more casual listener -- but don't speak much Spanish, two phrases that you should make a point of memorizing are "en concierto" and "en vivo." Both of those phrases are Spanish for "live" or "in concert," and it's important to be on the lookout for live norteño albums because norteño bands are known for going that extra mile on-stage. Now for the bad news: many norteño artists have never recorded live albums. Their labels know that Latin stations are mainly interested in studio recordings, and since radio airplay helps increase sales, Latin labels tend to give the program directors what they think they want. Thankfully, Los Rieleros del Norte aren't among the norteño bands that have never provided a live album; recorded live in 2004 in Dallas, TX, en concierto gives listeners a chance to hear how engaging they can be on-stage. This disc boasts inspired performances of many gems that serious Los Rieleros addicts will be familiar with -- gems that include "Una Aventura," "Ayer la Vi por la Calle," "Noches Eternas," and "Capricho Maldito" as well as "En las Cantinas" and "Te Quiero Mucho." This 45-minute CD isn't nearly as long as it could have been; longtime Rieleros followers will no doubt wish that Fonovisa had provided another 30 minutes worth of live material -- and given how many great songs the band has provided over the years, that would not have been hard. A conjunto of Los Rieleros' stature certainly warrants more than 45 minutes on a live album. Even so, en concierto is a rewarding, if imperfect, document of Los Rieleros on-stage in 2004. [en concierto was also released with a bonus DVD including music videos for "Una Aventura," "Una Mujer Como Tú," "Aventura Pasada," and "Te Quiero Mucho (Mucho Te Quiero)" as well as a photo gallery, discography, and other features.] ~ Alex Henderson
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Latin America - Released January 1, 1997 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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Latin America - Released January 1, 2008 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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World - Released January 1, 2003 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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Latin America - Released January 1, 2001 | Fonovisa, Inc.

Arguably, los Rieleros del Norte are to norteño and Tex-Mex what Poncho Sanchez is to Latin jazz -- they aren't innovators, but they can usually be counted on to provide solid and pleasing albums. Entrega de Amor is no exception. Released in 2001 -- the year that marked los Rieleros' 22nd anniversary -- Entrega de Amor breaks no new ground for the norteño/Tex-Mex institution. But it's still an excellent, if predictable, addition to their catalog. "Por No Llamarte," "A Través de los Años," "Una Mujer Como Tú," and other tracks are state-of-the-art norteño -- passionate, polka-influenced, accordion-driven songs that reflect the north-of-the-border experience of Mexican-Americans living in places like Arizona, California, and, of course, Texas (where the norteño/conjunto/Tex-Mex sound was born). Those who are knowledgeable of German culture will hear the polka influence, and those who are hip to the various styles of Mexican music will appreciate the ranchera connection. If you speak Spanish, you will know just how unapologetically sentimental these lyrics can be; if not, you'll still be able to tell that there is plenty of emotion and yearning in the vocals. Los Rieleros clearly believe that a norteño vocalist should wear his heart on his sleeve, and that is exactly what happens on unmistakably norteño offerings like "Seamos Sinceros" and "Por Tu Maldito Amor." Entrega de Amor doesn't pretend to reinvent the norteño wheel any more than Poncho Sanchez pretends to reinvent the Latin jazz/Afro-Cuban wheel; on this CD, los Rieleros del Norte continue to excel by sticking with the type of music that they do best. ~ Alex Henderson
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Latin America - Released January 1, 2002 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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World - Released January 1, 2004 | Fonovisa, Inc.

Like other Mexican norteño bands, los Rieleros del Norte have the sort of audience that aspiring musicians are envious of: an ultra-loyal audience. The loyalty factor is the thing that enables them to continue providing album after album, year after year; los Rieleros have a lot of hardcore fans who keep coming back for more. And Sobre los Rieles does nothing to alienate those fans; this 2004 release is yet another solid, consistent outing from the Texas group. That said, there are no compelling reasons why someone with a more casual interest in los Rieleros absolutely has to acquire Sobre los Rieles; someone who fits that description could easily be satisfied with a handful of best-of collections. But for the diehard Rieleros addicts who already have 20 or 25 of their albums and still cannot get enough of the group, there is a lot to enjoy on this CD -- not only original material like "Mi Razón" and "Buenas Noches Chaparrita," but also, Marco Antonio Solís' "Estabas Tan Linda"." Although Solís is primarily a romantic Latin pop singer along the lines of Julio Iglesias and José José, his songs can be arranged a variety of ways -- and "Estabas Tan Linda" easily lends itself to los Rieleros' norteño perspective. In a 2004 interview, one of los Rieleros' members was quoting as saying, "El norteño es un género que no ha pasado de moda para nada." Translation: norteño is a genre that has not gone out of fashion at all -- which is an accurate statement. Not all Mexicans listen to norteño, but the style continues to enjoy a great deal of support in the regional Mexican market -- and los Rieleros still command an enthusiastic bunch of followers who will appreciate this respectable, if less than essential, addition to the group's catalog. ~ Alex Henderson
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Latin America - Released January 1, 2001 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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World - Released January 1, 2006 | Fonovisa, Inc.

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Latin America - Released April 7, 2015 | Sony Music Latin

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Latin America - Released June 30, 2017 | Sony Music Latin