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Rabo de Nube


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Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Silvio Rodr?guez (vocals, guitar).
  • Cuban singer/songwriter Silvio Rodr?guez established himself as one of the pioneers of the nueva trova in the early '70s alongside Pablo Milan?s, Eduardo Ramos, Noel Nicola, and Sara Gonz?lez, fellow members of the state-sponsored Grupo de Experimentaci?n Sonora. Dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, 1979's Rabo de Nube shows continuity with Rodr?guez's previous albums, its melodic folk-pop arrangements accompanying poignant, poetic lyrics sung in a fragile tenor. Simpler acoustic compositions like the title track (subsequently covered by the Pretenders on Viva el Amor) and the catchy "F?bula de los Tres Hermanos" are especially strong. However, only "Que Ya Viv?, Que Te Vas" and "Con Diez A?os de Menos" rise to the high standards set by earlier Rodr?guez classics, such as "Playa Gir?n" and "Sue?o con Serpientes" from his 1975 debut D?as y Flores. Unfortunately, Rabo de Nube foregrounds the inconsistencies that have occasionally marred Rodr?guez's work. It's not simply a case of the hit-and-miss nature of the tracks -- the misses being those numbers like "Te Amar? y Despu?s" and "Imag?nate" that find Rodr?guez bogged down in saccharine territory -- at times, he manages to combine his best and worst tendencies within the same song, much to the frustration of the listener. Whereas the more effective numbers are almost wholly acoustic or strike a subtle, effective balance between acoustic and electronic instrumentation, elsewhere, potentially brilliant tracks end up sounding immediately dated and clumsy, owing to the ill-advised and unnecessary introduction of synthesizers. "Testamento," for instance, builds to a stirring, strum-along climax, only to be derailed by a campy sci-fi soundtrack synth; similar problems undermine the otherwise excellent "Vamos a Andar." Its flaws notwithstanding, Rabo de Nube still attests to Rodr?guez's considerable talent and does little to diminish his status as one of Cuba's premier singer/songwriters. ~ Wilson Neate
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