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Carlos Maldonado: 'old classics never die'

Some songs like the torchy bolero, “Mucho Corazon,” have enough juice that they never cease to fascinate new generations says bajo sexto player Carlos Maldonado.

So, that’s why, despite so many

covers of the song, he and his band Grupo Fuerte recorded “Mucho Corazon,” a classic tune by Emma Elena Casarin Valdemar on his new CD, “Mas Fuerte que Nunca.”

“I've always been a fan of old music. That song has been recorded time after time and for good reason,” he said in a recent interview. “It's such a wonderful song and hasn't been recorded in a while.

“I actually fell in love with it again when I heard it with accordionist Steve Jordan. He's one of the reasons I recorded it. That and it just being such a great song.”

(Photos courtesy Ramon Hernandez/Hispanic Archives)

The lyrics describe the power of honesty and devotion in a relationship. And while many top artists have covered it, the song retains it’s emotional charge. Steve Jordan’s version stands out for it’s heavy blues infusion.

Tradition is a big part of Maldonado’s artistry, and for good reason. He began playing as a toddler in his father’s conjunto Grupo Aguila. Through the years he’s also had tenures with the Hometown Boys, Elsa García, and David Lee Garza y Los Musicales.


Conjunto and Tejano heritage is infused in the Maldonado family. Carlos Maldonado’s great uncle is the late Mario Montes Sr. of Los Doneños. And Roberto Pulido of Los Clasicos is his second cousin.

With a nod to Conjunto Bernal and other great groups that employed beautiful three-part harmony, Maldonado also included the tune “No Me Trates Asi,” written by Joe Flores.

“It took a while, but we did it in three-part vocal harmony,” said Maldonado. “I really wanted that sound.”

The 10-track CD opens with “Agonia,” a mid-tempo polka with lyrics that describe the calm that comes after a romantic turmoil. Maldonado’s semi-retired father, Maldonado Sr.,also does a guest vocal stint on the tune “La De Los Ojos Cafes,” a tune originally recorded by his father.

The “Mas Fuerte que Nunca” CD is Maldonado’s third independent CD but the first on his own label, Fuerte Records.

Working as an independent is always tough, but especially so, 



 

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