Some Albums Kick Fantastico Amounts del Culo
Banda el Recodo, 60 Aniversario de la Banda el Recodo de Don Cruz Lizarraga: 1938-1998
(Master Stereo Discos y Cassettes), 1998
Finished up with one of my school visits: awesome kids, teachers didn’t hate me too much, got paid on time, tudo bem. Had a while before I had to pick my daughter up from drama class, so went down to State Street, watched some students walk around, bought a great book for a dollar and some coffee for two, sun was shining, perfect afternoon.
But I still had the hunger. So I jumped in the whip (’98 Saturn, blue SL2, 10” rims, aw yeah, I’ll show you how to stunt) and moved it on over to Strictly Discs on Monroe Street. Didn’t have a lot of time, just enough to peruse, wasn’t really gonna buy anything…okay that’s a lie. But didn’t have anything in mind.
Then it jumped out at me from the wall. I had wanted to pick up some Banda el Recodo ever since I saw them fill up the stage at the Latin Grammys last year: millions of mad Mexican maniacs marching merrily with their trumpets and trombones and tubas, insanely fast playing insanely loud, with random vocal interspersions so they can still pretend it’s a song when in fact it’s just justification for these excursions into metal madness.
And here we’re talking about a two-CD tribute to the six decades of this sinaloense band and its founder, Don Cruz Lizárraga, much of it recorded live in Mexico City in 1993. I recognized exactly one of the songs: “El Manicero,” also known as “The Peanut Vendor,” from an old J.J. Johnson trombone-war disc I have, out of 40 total tracks. All for $7.99. You’d best believe I copped that shit. Paid cash, the perfect crime.
And ran out to my car and threw out whatever sad disc was in the player and popped in Disco Uno and lost my freakin’ mind. A brief spoken intro, then a horn salutation, a cymbal crash, and then a speed waltz world record of blurting brass things and we’re off into “El Sinaloense.” It’s the sound of Bedlam, of Pandemonium, of my greatest dreams of Mexico: rowdy but stately, sexy but conservative, LOUD AS HELL. Somewhere in there some clarinets come in, it’s a reprieve, it’s a trick, then the big horns come back and ruin everything in the best way possible. My head is still ringing at the assault on my senses when I realize that track 2 has begun, and that it’s the same song but now with a vocal.
Oh my gawd is this an album. The fast stuff requires incredible precision from everyone, the slow stuff is mariachi on steroids and doesn’t last very long, John Philip Sanchez, utilitarian music, aggressive to the eardrums, it’s all like I’m drunk because the trumpets are dazzlingly shrill and disorienting with their close harmonies. But I’m not. But I am, or at least I will be tonight, when I go home and pop open some wine and put this on to make my trademark Tex-Mex Ricestravaganza.