Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Travel Tunes - Week 11

If you haven't noticed, it's New York week here at the World on Wheels.  Our travel tune this week is the old standard "New York, New York."  In researching the origin of the song, I'm suprised it's of a semi-recent vintage, being written in 1977 for Martin Scorsese's film of the same name starring Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro.  It was written by John Kander, with Fred Ebb doing the lyrics, and performed in the film by Minnelli. 

Frank Sinatra recorded the version most people associate with the song in 1980 for the album Trilogy: Past Present Future and again as a duet with Tony Bennett in 1993  for his Duets album.  You can here ole Blue Eyes sing it here.

Jose Hernandez is responsible for the version we're going with this week.  I used to live just around the corner from Mr. Hernandez' restaurant, Cielito Lindo, in South El Monte, California (for you real old timers there, it's the former Jolly Jug).  If you ever find yourself in the area, I really recommend it for a great, old fashioned dinner and show.

Hernandez is also known as the leader of Mariachi Sol de Mexico and is a tireless promoter for the preservation of mariachi music here in Los Angeles.  His orchestra has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl; with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and on many TV shows such as the Tonight Show.  Along with Mariachi Sol de Mexico, his restaurant showcases many up and coming mariachi groups such as Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, an all woman orchestra.

One of Hernadez' hooks is his group's sudden breakout into the song "New York, New York" as a way to break the ice with the audience.  It's an effective way to get people to listen a little more closely as he tries to persuade them to give the mariachi genre more attention.   It's also just a very good rendition of the song.  Below is Hernandez and Mariachi Sol de Mexico doing just that on the Dennis Miller Show.  Enjoy...

- Darryl

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