Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Flaco Jiminez

  • Arriba El Norte [Rounder, 1989] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Arriba El Norte [Rounder, 1989]
Comparison to Santiago Jr.'s more generic-sounding Familia y Tradicion leaves no doubt as to why Flaco has been the hep Chicano box-squeezer since Doug Sahm brought him to New York in 1972. For this brother, traditionalism doesn't mean straight and square--he's sprightly and flexible, "pop" only because he's not allergic to change. And this 1969-1980 compilation from his San Antonio label, complete with translations and knowledgeable notes, ought to be the Flaco for me. But though a similar collection by his rock-oriented compadre Steve Jordan did the trick, I find that I'm still on the outside after ten plays, which ought to be enough. I'm a New Yorker who doesn't know Spanish, and folk music isn't my thing. Until something changes, so be it. B+