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The Sound Opinions World Tour in Mexico

Rock journalists Josh Norek and Alejandro Franco are our guides to music south of the border as the Sound Opinions World Tour heads to Mexico.

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Bobby“Blue”Bland died this week at age 83. The“Sinatra of the Blues”started out as a gospel singer and was also a valet and chauffeur to B.B. King. Like the blue-eyed crooner, he used the mic as an instrument and was known for his subtle and instrument approach. You can hear this on the his version of "St. James Infirmary."

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Fresh from stops in Japan andSweden, the Sound Opinions World Tour continues south of the border. Public radio's "The Latin Alternative" co-host Josh Norek is our guide to Mexico's music scene. As Vice President of the Latin alternative music label Nacional Records, Norek's had a chance to work with many of Mexico's pioneering rock acts, from Saul Hernandez's Jaguares, to pop-rock arena act Mana. He's seen the audience for Mexican music in the U.S. grow (as second and third generation Mexican-Americans get in touch with their musical roots), and he's seen it get more experimental. Norek argues that Mexico's musical renaissance really kicked into gear with Café Tacvba in the nineties. Tacvba fused genres like ska, metal, and punk with traditional Mexican regional music. Cafe Tacvba sounded Mexican and were proud of it. More recently, DJ outfits like Nortec Collective and Mexican Institute of Sound have adapted the same approach to techno, merging beats and norte~no samples, for example. Norek says Mexico's music scene continues to develop in spite of formidable challenges; drug-related violence has forced artists in cities like Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Tijuana to relocate to Mexico City and L.A.

Jim and Greg round out their Mexican tour stop with a call-in to Sesiones TV host and music journalist Alejandro Franco in Mexico City. Their mission? To find out what Mexican music fans are listening to right now. Franco says that while rockers Zoe are topping the charts, it's Carla Morrisson and Juan Cirerol who are packing Mexico City's hipster clubs. And check out our Mexico playlist on Spotify.

Here are the Mexican artists featured in this episode

  • Café Tacvba
  • Jaguares
  • Maldita Vecindad
  • Mana
  • Nortec Collective
  • El Gran Silencio
  • Control Machete
  • Kinky
  • Mexican Institute of Sound
  • Zoe
  • Carla Morrison
  • Juan Cirerol
reviewOne True VineOne True Vine available on iTunes

Mavis Staples One True Vine

Mavis Staples has released her 13th studio album called One True Vine. She tapped Wilco's Jeff Tweedy to produce for the 2nd time, but this time around, Jim says, he is not so awed by her. The material is better and the sparse production showcases her voice more. Jim says Buy It to this dark, quiet record. Greg, who knows a thing or three about Mavis Staples and Wilco, has admired all the singer's recent albums. And he thinks she's achieved one of the greatest second acts in rock history. He gives this“American treasure”a Buy It.



“America”Simon and Garfunkel,Yes,Bowie,Simon and Garfunkel

Jim recently made a trip back to his home state of New Jersey and did a lot of driving. So he stumbled upon a classic rock station playing "America" by Simon and Garfunkel. This song never fails to choke him up, even the versions by Yes and Bowie. It deserves a prominent spot in the Desert Island Jukebox.

Featured Songs

  1. Goose Island Credit Music: Pure Sunray,“Caramel,”Pure Sunray, 2013
  2. Bobby“Blue”Bland, Farther On Down the Road, Farther Up the Road (Single), Duke, 1957
  3. Bobby“Blue”Bland, St. James Infirmary, Two Steps from the Blues, MCA Records Inc., 2001
  4. Caf'e Tacvba, La Locomotora, Un Viaje, Universal Music Latino, 2005
  5. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, El Matador, Vasos Vacios, Columbia, 1993
  6. Ritchie Valens,“La Bamba,”La Bamba (Single), 1958
  7. Los Teen Tops, La Plaga, Los Teen Tops, Columbia, 1960
  8. Caifanes, Viento, Caifanes, RCA International, Sony Music, 1988
  9. Jaguares, Viento, El Primer Instinto, Sony Music International, 2002
  10. Maldita Vecindad, Pachuco, El Circo, BMG Mexico, 1991
  11. Mana, Oye Mi Amor, ¿Dónde Jugarán los Niños?, WEA Latina, 1992
  12. Café Tacvba, El Aparato, Re, Warner Music, 1994
  13. Nortec Collective, Polaris, The Tijuana Sessions Vol. 1, Palm Pictures, 2001
  14. Nortec Collective, The Clap, Bostich & Fussible Present: Tijuana Sound Machine, Nacional Records, 2008
  15. El Gran Silencio, Cumbia Lunera, Chuntaros Radio Poder, EMI Latin, 2001
  16. Nortec Collective, Tijuana Sound Machine, Tijuana Sound Machine, Nacional Records, 2001
  17. Morrissey, The Last of the Famous International Playboys, Single, HMV, 1989
  18. Control Machete, Si Senor, Solo Para Fan'aticos, International Latin American, 2002
  19. Kinky, Despues Del After, Sue~no De La Maquina, Nacional Records, 2010
  20. Mexican Institute of Sound, Mexico, Politico, Nacional Records, Noiselab, 2012
  21. Mexican Institute of Sound, Se Baila Asi, Politico, Nacional Records, Noiselab, 2012
  22. Zoe, Love, Single, Sony/Noiselab/EMI, 2004
  23. Carla Morisson, Eres Tu, Déjenme llorar, Cósmica Records, 2012
  24. Juan Cirerol, La Muchacha de las Tierras Lejanas, Haciendo Leña, Cirerol Disk Intolerance, 2012
  25. Kinky, Mas, Kinky, Nettwerk, 2002
  26. Mavis Staples, Jesus Wept, One True Vine, Anti, 2013
  27. Mavis Staples, I Like the Things About Me, One True Vine, Anti, 2013
  28. Sim 1966Garfunkel, America, Bookends, Columbia Records, 1968
  29. The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, The Bogus Man, The Jazz Age, BMG Rights Management, 2012
  30. Roxy Music, The Bogus Man, Thrill Of It All, Virgin, 1995
  31. Kanye West, New Slaves, Yeezus, Def Jam, 2013

Footnotes Bobby Blue Bland dies“St James Infirmary” The Latin Alternative Josh Norek Nacional Records“El Equilibrio de los Jaguares” Mana's band site Cafe Tacvba, MTV Unplugged Nortec Collective,“Bostich+Fussible” Mexican Institute of Sound, Mexico Sesiones con Alejandro Franco Zoe's artist site Carla Morrisson's website El Gran Silencio on My Space Control Machete on MySpace Kinky's band site Juan Cirerol's website Mexico playlist Mavis Staples's website One True Vine on Anti Greg's Mavis review The Wilco book Simon and Garfunkel,“America” Yes,“America” David Bowie,“America”