In writing about by vacation, I nearly forgot about Cafe Old Wembley, a charming little bar nestled on Monnikenstraat straddled right between Nieumarkt Square and the Red Light district. Due to its name and location, it gets a mix of Englishmen, perverts, and a venn diagram overlap of the two. But it is a nice bar. Decent prices and selection. They repainted in the over the last two years so it looks a lot brighter inside. I seem to recall the process of cleaning up the bar started two years ago as it looked a lot nicer in 2014 that it did in 2012. They also redid the bath rooms between 2014 and now.
This record was recorded in 1955 and I imagine it was released shortly after that. The only info I can find on the record came curtesy of the back cover. According to the guy who recorded and produced the album, one Alan Brown, while vacation in Spain with his wife, Brown was also listening for music to use for a travel program for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The couple worked thru Madrid, Seville, Granada, and Cordoba with mixed results until making it to Ronda. The couple chose the town based on a quote from Hemmingway’s Death in the Afternoon.
Anyway, the couple fell in love with the town and came across a guitar player named Carretero and the singer, El Nino De Ronda, otherwise known as Pepe Villar. Brown set up an impromptu recording session in a bodega with a portable tape machine and fueled by Tio Pepe. The end result was released on Tradition Records.
This back story makes this album a bit more interesting. Otherwise, it is sort of standard flamenco. Brown makes a note about Nino’s authenticity compared to the phony flamenco singers he encountered earlier in his trip. This is shown in Nino’s singing. Decent album. It does all kind of sound the same at times but there are interesting moments.
For a sample I was stuck between “La Vuelta” (The Return), a Cancion Zambra about a man who leaves his love and then returns, and “Los Hierros” (The Irons?), a Fandango about a mand who’s lover gets around. He calls her out on it and as she begs for forgiveness, he refuses to relent while feeling great sorrow at the same time. Both songs draw out on Nino’s emotions. However, after much debate, I went with “Los Hierros” .
For the price, I will say this is satisfactory enough. Any bit more and I would have said no.