35 ANIVERSARIO LO MEJOR DE LARA won the 2003 Latin Grammy Award for Best Ranchero Album.
Personnel: Eric Mora (guitar); Guadalupe Alfaro (vihuela); Francisco del Carmen (flute); V¡ctor Diaz (saxophone); Gustavo Alvarado, Manuel Valle (trumpet); Manuel C zares (keyboards); Julio Vera (percussion).
Arrangers: Gustavo A. Santiago; Rigoberto Alfaro; Chucho Ferrer; Pedro Ram¡rez.
Agustin Lara was one of Mexico's great songwriters, and certainly one of the most widely recorded, in addition to composing songs for many Mexican films of the 1930s and '40s. While many have almost forgotten him in the last three decades, Vicente Fern ndez obviously hasn't. To celebrate his 35th year as a recording artist, he's put together a disc of the best of Lara's work -- at least in his eyes. Always a romantic, Fern ndez has gone for the big songs, with new, often lush arrangements that bring out the melodies but never swamp them. Of course, there's no danger of his big voice being crowded out. On songs like "Veracruz" and "Imposible" he's in complete control throughout, while he can also take a gentle piece like "Maria Bonita" and almost make it whisper, while the emotion ripples through "Amor de Mis Amores." It's an ideal marriage, really, because Lara was a writer who loved the sweep of passion, and that's always been at the core of Fern ndez's singing. And 35 years into his career, he proves he's still very much at the top of his game. ~ Chris Nickson