George Strait Is Pushing Boundaries and Opening Doors with “El Rey”

Pierce Greenberg | July 30th, 2009

george-strait-el-rey

Taking chances is a rare thing in mainstream country these days. Taking chances that are culturally significant is even rarer. Leave it to veteran George Strait to be the diamond in the rough.

On his new album, Twang, Strait covers “El Rey” a traditional Mexican folk song delivered entirely in Spanish. The move has the country music world buzzing.

About the Song:
“El Rey” (which means “The King”) was written over 50 years ago by Jose Alfredo Jimenez, who is one of Mexico’s most esteemed songwriters. Jimenez is sometimes referred to as the Mexican Woody Guthrie, and has been described as “Mexico’s Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Hank Williams all rolled into one.”

William Gradante in The Latin American Music Review had this to say about Jimenez:

“Inspiration and intensity, simplicity and sincerity, were probably Jose Alfredo Jimenez’s greatest attributes. Even casual listeners are impressed by these qualities in his singing style, particularly when compared with other singers of the day[…]Jimenez’s purpose was not to sing about himself as much as to evoke in his listeners memories of similar sentiments and experiences in their own lives.”

According to the blog Songlations, “El Rey” is a tribute to Mexican macho-ism and masculinity; the protagonist goes around saying that he is king and that everyone will cry when he dies. He’s not married and has no strings attached—he basically just does what he wants. The sentiment is a celebration of the freedom to roam and explore.

Strait is only one in a club of hundreds who have released recorded versions of Jimenez’s classic.

Cross Cultural Appeal:
While many people may be shocked at Strait’s decision to record the song, a closer look at Mexican influences in Strait’s music—and country music in general—shows that it should come as no surprise.

Country music historian Don Cusic hasn’t heard Strait’s version of the song yet, but acknowledges the prevalence of Mexican culture in country music.

“The Mexican influence on country music extends from the clothing (colorful) to the music, via Texas,” said Cusic. “The image of the cowboy is strong in both–and George Strait is certainly part of that culture. The cattle culture, horses, saddles, lariats and all that is heavily influenced by Mexico.”

Mexican-American artists like Freddy Fender and Rick Trevino have played up that country music connection in the past by releasing bilingual albums and songs. But currently, the Hispanic demographic of country fans has gone largely ignored.

No one knows this better than Gabe Garcia, a Hispanic artist who was runner-up on NBC’s Nashville Star last year.

gabe-garcia-el-rey“It’s a huge market to tap in to right now because there’s so many Hispanic people that love country. I think it needs to be done,” said Garcia. “We really need to get somebody out there just to have another influence.”

Garcia is a huge Strait fan, and covered several of Strait’s songs on the show. After hearing “El Rey,” Garcia was pleased, but not surprised.

“I think he did a pretty good job on it. It’s pretty cool,” said Garcia. “I don’t think it’s a shocker that he’s done something like that. He’s always loved Spanish culture and music.”

Garcia grew up 15 minutes from Strait’s hometown, in Pearsall, Texas, and knows the Hispanic influence is strong around those parts.

“He grew up around a lot of Spanish speaking people and a lot of Spanish bands,” said Garcia. “That’s part of being from South Texas. That’s the culture down there.”

While Strait clearly respects Tejano and Hispanic music, the feeling is mutual. Garcia has toured with several Tejano bands and has even covered a few Strait songs with them—in particular, an accordion-laced version of “Amarillo By Morning.”

“When I go around with those guys, I sing all country stuff and man, they love it,” said Garcia. “I always sing a George Strait song and they pack the floor.”

A Shot at Radio:
Lou Ramirez, the afternoon DJ for country radio station KJ97 in San Antonio, has already been spinning the song and getting responses. He played “El Rey” for the first time earlier in the week.

“A lot of people called in. I’ve gotten lots emails, lots of people hitting me up on Twitter about it, and tons of follow-up phone calls about it.”

He said the response has been overall very positive.

“Overwhelmingly, people knew it was special and different, but there were a number of people who said it doesn’t belong on country radio. And then there was a small percentage that said ‘I don’t like that kind of music, don’t ever play it again,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez was hesitant to speak about how he thought the song would do on a national level, but for South Texas he knew it would go over well. He found out about the song’s availability after hearing the local Tejano station playing it first.

“When George comes out with a record, people want to hear it so we immediately jump on it,” said Ramirez. “So you mix in the fact that people in this area are very aware of that song. It’s played in mariachis, at quinceaneras. It’s played all across South Texas. So the same reasons a Tejano station would play it are the same reasons that I’d play it.”

To give a better example of the cross-culture Tejano-country appeal in Texas, Ramirez pointed to Tuesday night’s Dallas Cowboys kick-off party at the Alamodome.

“Randy Rogers Band played, which is a Texas music band and they were followed up by Intocable, which is a straight-up Tejano music band,” said Ramirez. “That is a perfect dichotomy of what’s going on. Hispanics love country music and they love Tejano music. And it’s OK, you can like both.”

As far as Ramirez knows, stations in Corpus Christi and Austin are spinning the track as well. That number will probably go up today, as the track became available on various digital distribution services, which means radio stations across the country will have the opportunity to play it.

Strait Opening Doors
While Ramirez likes the new Strait track, he believes that other artists are capable of producing Hispanic-friendly music, as well. He recalled that Lee Ann Womack planned on singing in Spanish for her latest album.

“If you have a passion for something, I think you can pull it off,” said Ramirez.

Garcia agreed. His good friend Rhett Akins has recently taken a liking to Tejano music and culture.

“He loves Spanish,” said Garcia. “He’s got that Rosetta Stone program. He’s really excited about learning Spanish so eventually he might try to do something like that.”

Garcia also hopes to carry the torch that artists like Fender and Trevino passed on—and he doesn’t mind Strait helping to get the style on the map.

“With George doing this, it might open a few doors for some other artists to maybe leap into something like that,” said Garcia.

Overall though, both Garcia and Ramirez are just happy to see an artist they love making the kind of music he wants to make.

“It’s an event record, it gets people talking,” said Ramirez. “Right now, George is doing records that he wants to do and to me, that’s really exciting to see him as an artist pushing what he can do.”

7 Pings

  1. [...] George Strait is Pushing Boundaries and Opening Doors with “El Rey” Taking chances is a rare thing in mainstream country these days. Taking chances that are culturally significant is even rarer. Leave it to veteran George Strait to be the diamond in the rough. On his new album, Twang , Strait covers “El Rey” a traditional Mexican folk song delivered entirely in Spanish. The move has the country music world buzzing. About the Song: “El Rey” (which means “The King”) was written over 50 years ago by Jose Alfredo Jimenez, who is one of Mexico’s most este [...]
  2. [...] George Strait Is Pushing Boundaries and Opening Doors with “El Rey” Taking chances is a rare thing in mainstream country these days. Taking chances that are culturally significant is even rarer. Leave it to veteran George Strait to be the diamond in the rough. On his new album, Twang , Strait covers “El Rey” a traditional Mexican folk song delivered entirely in Spanish. The move has the country music world buzzing. About the Song: “El Rey” (which means “The King”) was written over 50 years ago by Jose Alfredo Jimenez, who is one of Mexico’s most este [...]
  3. [...] And the Latin American Music Review goes further, by saying of the song’s creator: “Jimenez’s purpose was not to sing about himself as much as to evoke in his listeners memories of similar sentiments and experiences in their own lives.” (via the9513.com) [...]
  4. [...] The 9513 praises Strait for taking the risk ; The LA Times says its the biggest surprise for Strait in years Link to my Country Music blogCopy the code below and paste it in your website or myspace page to link to this post. <a href="http://www.thegeorgiajukebox.com/2009/08/15/george-strait-el-rey/" >George Strait “El Rey”</a> [...]
  5. [...] George Strait is Pushing Boundaries and Opening Doors with “El Rey” (the9513.com) [...]
  6. [...] It was disappointing that he didn’t include “El Rey,” a traditional Mexican folk song from the new album that he sings entirely in Spanish. Maybe Strait felt that the predominantly white audience at the Tacoma Dome wouldn’t appreciate it. But it was gutsy for Strait to record it, and it would have been amazing to hear it live. You can read more about the song here. [...]
  7. [...] happening”? If it’s not, it will be soon.George Strait – El Rey(From YouTube via 9513)Country music can throw up stars both huge and invisible – like George Strait, a veteran singer [...]
  1. Brady Vercher
    July 30, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Cool article. It sounds to me like Strait actually opens up a little more here and has fun with the song instead of sticking to his standard delivery. It seems to have come out of left field, but Nashville could stand to take a few more risks.

    A little anecdote in regards to the Hispanic audience and country music: Brody and I went to one of our best friend’s graduation party a couple months ago and were the only non-Hispanics there. They had Tejano music playing from one of the pickups while everyone was playing washers outside, but switched it over–as later relayed to us by a translator–to “something for the white boys,” which turned out to be a George Jones hits compilation. They kicked our ass in washers, but at least the music was good.

  2. Andrew Lacy
    July 30, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Wow, that’s radically different from what I’d expect from George. If I didn’t know it was him singing, I might have thought it was someone else. I agree that it’s nice to see someone taking a risk, especially someone so universally respected.

  3. Leeann Ward
    July 30, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    The Amazon clips for Strait’s upcoming album sound pretty good.

    This is fun.

  4. Jaime
    July 30, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Interesting piece… Though isn’t it sad that some will think it’s radical for a popular artist to record a song in Spanish? It’s about time!

  5. Patrick
    July 30, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    It won’t play! The “thermometer” thing at the bottom of the page darkens to the right, but no sound of any kind!

    Something about a Mac OSX w/Safari internet browser?

  6. Drew
    July 30, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Sure he’s having fun pushing boundaries… but that’s about as far as it goes. I don’t even know what he’s saying and it sure isn’t country. I really hope he wouldn’t try sending this to radio as the next single.

  7. DC
    July 30, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    The song is awesome. I’m a country music and tejano music fan. It’s more of a natural progression and less of a risk for George Strait. He’s a living legend who is still evolving as singer. It’s great!

  8. EL CHUPACABRA
    July 30, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    oh i’m so sorry i thought i was reading an article about GEORGE STRAIT not Illegal immigrants… talk about Pushing the boundaries dang it.

  9. Rick
    July 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    I think in radio markets with a lot of Spanish speaking residents (most major US cities these days), this song makes at lot of sense to spin at radio. Even if they do I don’t see how this could attract more Hispanics to Top 40 country radio because a majority of the music is so sucky overall these days I no longer listen myself. All of the Hispanic immigrants and descendants from Mexico on south have their own form of “country music” in Tejano and don’t really need the gringo stuff.

    With a large and fast growing Hispanic population in the US, Top 40 country stations want to grab a share of that market but a white guy singing a Mexican standard ain’t gonna cut it. Here in Los Angeles the radio dial is filled with Spanish language music and talk radio stations and a George Strait song won’t get them to tune over to KKGO “Go Country” FM, although DJ Tonya Campos sure wouldn’t mind…

    PS – Us “no habla espanol” gringos prefer songs that include the lyrics also sung in English as well as Spanish so we know what the hell the song is about! Two fine examples are The Woody’s “Echoes Of Love” and Stacey Roueche’s version of “Besame Mucho”. These songs truly bridge the cultural and language divide….

  10. Jim Malec
    July 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    “Besame Mucho”

    I only acknowledge Sanjaya’s version.

  11. Andrew Lacy
    July 30, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Here are the lyrics in both Spanish and English: http://community.livejournal.com/songlations/23736.html

    There seems to be a bit lost in translation, but you can kind of get the gist of it.

  12. Vicki
    July 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    I agree. I would not have thought that was George singing. Hey has anyone signed Gabe Garcia? He was the only legit singer on that season of Nashville Star.

  13. Baron Lane
    July 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    George Strait tiene huevos grandes!

  14. Rick
    July 30, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    JIm Malec said: ““Besame Mucho” – I only acknowledge Sanjaya’s version.”

    Well I think Andrea Bocelli has Sanjaya beat, but I do think Andrea’s pace drags a bit…
    Link: http://www.videosift.com/video/Andrea-Bocelli-Besame-Mucho
    Olay! (lol)

  15. JD
    July 30, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Thank you, MCA, for making “El Ray” the last track on the disc.

    Apesta!

  16. Nicolas
    July 30, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    ^ Sometimes you “save the best for last” =D

  17. Alonso Dominguez
    July 30, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Gracias George por haber cantado “El Rey” de Jose Alfredo. Tu eres “El Rey”

  18. James S.
    July 30, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    Pretty cool article. I also like listening to Tejano music, and the song George does here is very fun to listen to. I’m glad he’s taking such a chance and would also be interested in hearing Lee Ann Womack try something like this.

    Hopefully, someone will sign Gabe Garcia soon. I was a fan of his on Nashville Star, although they didn’t allow him to show his full potential.

    Oh, and I love me some Rick Trevino, too. I miss hearing from him.

  19. Saving Country Music
    July 30, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    I applaud Strait for doing this, but the key to why he’s doing it all lies with this statement:

    “But currently, the Hispanic demographic of country fans has gone largely ignored.”

    My guess this will bring out the boneheaded “Cut my lawn and build my house but git the hell out of my dern country” crowd.

    George better not find himself in a nice neighborhood without a lawn mower in the back of his truck, or he might get harassed by the pinche chotas.

    Doesn’t he understand that in ‘Merica we speak ‘Merican?

  20. Rita
    July 30, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    I think it is wonderful that this country music legend feels so comfortable and confident with his work that he dares to push the envelope which is historically what every great artist has done. You either love or hate it….and I do love it! to those who hate it, really take the time to appreciate the beauty of the language and the music that accompanies it. Great job George!

  21. Veronica
    July 31, 2009 at 12:18 am

    Geroge Strait rocks! I’m so impressed with his rendition of this song, I’m looking forward to buying his new album! There’s no shame in his game, I love the cross over vibe the song it gives.

  22. Del
    July 31, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Great job George! Thank you for bringing a classic Mariachi song to the airwaves.

  23. Pierce
    July 31, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Vicki,

    Gabe is unsigned, but when I spoke to him, he was recovering from a night of shooting pool with Alan Jackson’s producer, Keith Stegall. Hopefully some material will be on the way soon.

  24. TenPoundHammer
    July 31, 2009 at 10:20 am

    He may be big, but please spell his name right. It’s José Alfredo Jiménez.

  25. garrett
    July 31, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    This is Amazing! If anyone hasn’t heard of Star De Azlan, they should check her myspace out. This is going to open a huge door for her, she is the first hispanic woman to be signed by a major record label, and I should mention i heard her tour manager is also George Straits. I wonder if something will happen with that. I have also heard that she has already had some songs produced by Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson’s Producer). So if you haven’t heard of her, check her out she is signed with Curb, and is predicted to be a huge hit on not only the country world, but the hispanic one as well.

  26. Shane
    July 31, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    George Strait used to open for a guy named Johnny Rodriguez, we cant forget his hispanic influence on country music in the 70’s. I know he has crashed down to earth a couple times over, but he is still one of the biggest hispanic country stars ever when it comes to putting out hits.

  27. Jennifer
    August 1, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Those of you who have mixed feelings about George doing this song have to understand that us Texans have a huge hispanic influnence and have from the beginning. Our history is full of it. (remember…we were once Mexico) Come on, We eat tacos, tamales, enchiladas, salsa…. Our cultures have definitely blended in many areas. So what’s the big deal? And let’s be honest, George could sing “Yankee Doodle” and make it go #1!

  28. Occasional Hope
    August 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    “she is the first hispanic woman to be signed by a major record label”

    What about Rosie Flores? She was on Warner Bros in the late 80s. And isn’t Linda Ronstadt part Mexican?

    I do like Star, though – She’s Pretty is a great track.

  29. Joe Rodriguez
    August 2, 2009 at 11:13 am

    A song fit for a KING! Thanks George!

  30. robert
    August 2, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I really thimk it’s great, this is why George is the King of Texas. Good job George!!!!!!

  31. garrett
    August 2, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Rosie Flores is Alternative but I can see how some people can still call that alternative. She is an amazing singer but I guess I should have specified COUNTRY.

  32. Occasional Hope
    August 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Rosie’s one and only Warner Bros (actually Reprise now that I check) album back in 1987 was definitely basically straight country and marketed as such, Garrett.

  33. Pat
    August 2, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Viva George!!

  34. merlefan49
    August 3, 2009 at 10:38 am

    It’s about time for him to take a chance.

  35. elizabeth
    August 3, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Well his the king of country and dont suprise us spanish people that he could sing spanish. You go george your the best no matter what you sing. And we love you….

  36. Dustin J.
    August 3, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I’m just wondering if someone else tried this what the population would think… are people liking this because it’s that good? Or are people liking this because it’s George?

    How would people feel if this was recorded and released to country radio by Toby Keith? Taylor Swift? Brad Paisley? Rascal Flatts? Love and Theft? Fast Ryde? Jessica Simpson?

    Point being… I worry that some folks may like this simply because of who it is.

    (let the bashing begin) :)

  37. Pierce
    August 3, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Dustin,

    I think a lot of it has to do with where Strait is from. He’s from South Texas, grew up around lots of Spanish influence. Therefore, it feels genuine.

    Taylor Swift (being from suburban Pennslyvania/Nashville) probably wouldn’t be as well-recieved. Brad Paisley–West Virginia? Probably not.

    Also, if you look at Strait’s body of work, this really comes as no surprise. Songs like “Adelaida”, “Seashores of Old Mexico”, “I Just Want to Dance With You” and tons of others have a lot of Spanish influence.

    Swift’s body of work has no remnant of Spanish influence. Neither do any of the artists you mentioned above.

    So, if you look at it a little deeper than just it’s face value, you’ll see why it’s being so well-recieved.

  38. Dustin J.
    August 3, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Good call, Pierce. Thanks for the time and effort put into your write-up.

  39. Laura
    August 3, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    omg this is so cool he sounds great to me

  40. James S.
    August 3, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Ditto to what Pierce says. It just wouldn’t be believable at all coming from any of the other artists Dustin listed.

  41. CTR
    August 4, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Directed toward Shane. Shane, I am a huge fan of Johnny Rodriguez. As a matter of fact, I carry his Greatest Hits CD with me in my SUV. Many fail to recognize his talent, his gift of music, and the like. Yes, some may remember his downfalls, however, he is still a great artist.

    Kudos to Strait. I look forward to purchasing the CD and am hopeful that the country stations specifically, those in the DFW area, air the beautiful Ranchera.

  42. PaulaW
    August 4, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Although I dont dispute that it may be “authentic” and “genuine” …. it’s just downright awful sounding. I played this for my daughter a few days ago (she is a HUGE GS fan, and has been to MANY of his shows) and after less than 30 seconds she said “that’s awful, who is it?” When I told her it was George she said “No way! I love George, but that’s still awful!”

  43. Brody Vercher
    August 4, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Since we’re throwing around case studies–I played the song for my girlfriend and her parents without divulging the artist. None of them guessed George Strait after the song finished, but they were impressed and asked to hear it several more times. And based on the amount of traffic we’re receiving, it struck a chord with other people as well.

  44. Leeann Ward
    August 4, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    A personal case study:

    I listened to it. I like it. I listened to it again.:)

  45. PaulaW
    August 4, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    And based on the amount of traffic we’re receiving, it struck a chord with other people as well.

    Brody – by “traffic” do you mean “comments”? If so, some of the traffic is due to the striking of a dis-chord. ;-)

  46. Brody Vercher
    August 4, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    I’m talking about visitors searching for the song in Google and finding The 9513. I’d assume most of them like it since I can’t imagine so many people actively searching for something they didn’t like. ;)

  47. Bo Darville
    August 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Anybody up for a Tecate?

  48. Pierce
    August 4, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Of course, it’s based on personal taste. If you don’t like Tejano, you’re probably not gonna like it.

    But as Lou says in the article, it’s an event record. It gets people talking.

  49. Lisa Thomas
    August 4, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Tucson, we have 6 Hispanic stations and only ONE country station now really several times a day we have SEVEN Hispanic Stations and no country station – yes this is groundbreaking but as other artists rush in to “match” George we are losing our traditional country so fast and this will just speed up its demise. Dang you Rascal Flatts and Dang you George – I would have like to see a different kind of “Twang”.

  50. Stormy
    August 4, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Someone should play Toujours Vouler by The Duhks and really throw ‘em for a loop.

  51. Mayor Jobob
    August 5, 2009 at 3:58 am

    I’m not trying to be a jerk or anything, but this song is gonna make his new album difficult to listen to. Rick Trevino’s english debut is one of the best country CD’s there is but I just can’t listen to the last track (Uno Momento Alla). I like to listen to lyrics of songs but I also slept through most of Spanish class.

  52. Brady Vercher
    August 5, 2009 at 7:19 am

    Difficult in what way? “El Rey” is the final track, so you can just cut it off after listening to the first 12 uninterrupted by anything that might pose a “problem.”

  53. JD
    August 5, 2009 at 8:20 am

    I agree with the Mayor… nothing against the Latino influence (my wife is of Latino ancestry) but I like to sing along and I’m too damned old to take up Spanish.

    I also agree with Brady… hit the reject button after track 12. From the sound samples and what I’ve heard on Rhapsody, the first twelve are more of what you’d expect (and love) from GS.

    BTW… I love tacos but not from Taco Bell ;)

  54. Leeann Ward
    August 5, 2009 at 8:34 am

    “BTW… I love tacos but not from Taco Bell ;)”

    JD,
    Have you been writing with Buddy Jewel lately?

    I concur with Brady’s obvious solution.

  55. JD
    August 5, 2009 at 8:41 am

    “Have you been writing with Buddy Jewel lately?”

    DAMN! Y’mean somebody else beat me to that line?!?!?

    Story of my life… deja vu all over again (don’t tell me someone already did that one too)

  56. Chris N.
    August 5, 2009 at 9:40 am

    It never occurred to me that it would pain people so much to hear one of music’s great vocalists sing in another language for two and a half minutes.

  57. Pierce
    August 5, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Agreed, Chris and Brady.

    Dare I say that track #13 is the best vocal performance on the album?

    The rest of the songs are pretty good. “Hot Grease and Zydeco” is a little left of center, but in a good way.

    The only flub is “Breath You Take”.

    Regardless, the enunciations required by the Spanish language are difficult to master and from what I hear, George nails them.

  58. Kevin Coyne
    August 5, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I’m looking forward to hearing this entire album. We could definitely use a bit of Spanish in country music. It’s been too long since Freddy Fender’s heyday.

  59. Cody
    August 5, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Drew
    July 30, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    “Sure he’s having fun pushing boundaries… but that’s about as far as it goes. I don’t even know what he’s saying and it sure isn’t country. I really hope he wouldn’t try sending this to radio as the next single.”

    That has to be a joke. You say this song doesn’t sound country? Apparently you haven’t been listening to your local country station, that sure as hell ain’t country. This song sounds way more country than any song that you’ll hear on the country radio station these days. George obviously isn’t going to sing the song that great, considering he’s a white guy. Either way this version is still great.

  60. HELEN
    August 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    This song is not a joke and is well respected. I feel that
    George sang it rather well. And the hispanic people are honored that such a well repected
    country singer would step out of his box. More power to you George.

  61. Mayor Jobob
    August 6, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    I’m not dissin’ on George Either, it’ll just be wierd to hear him, such a by the book guy, to do this (the point of the article). BTW, I enjoyed Clay Walker’s spanish singing in “Before the next Teardrop Falls” with Fender. I got no problem with it.

  62. Mayor Jobob
    August 6, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    and P.S. I’ve only eaten at Taco Bell twice! but just for the Crunchwrap Supreme. Thems is tasty!

  63. Rafael
    August 9, 2009 at 2:07 am

    This is just my opionion but I think George sang this song not for the tennessee country folks but for the hispanic community. People that say that it sounds horrible or that it ruined the album I don’t think you people understand. The thing is George is open minded with his music. People who are one track minded need to stick with that Nashville Country Pop garbage because people from South Texas are open to all kinds of music. George blended so many cultural influences in his music that people tend to forget where that type of music is from. George didn’t forget his roots from South Texas and he is showing his colors. He is a true Texas Artist in every form. I hope he keeps blending even more cultures in his music to show that country music is more than Nashville Country/Pop. It can be a little Cajun in Adalida, Native American in Cherokee Madien, Tejano in El Rey, Big Band in Fly Me Too The Moon. And just because you don’t understand the language doesn’t mean that it is horrible. Keep it up George South Texas is proud of you.

  64. Paul W Dennis
    August 9, 2009 at 10:31 am

    No problem with a song being in Spanish, but he should have included an English version of the song as well

  65. Stormy
    August 9, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Cherokee Maiden isn’t Native American.

  66. Angela
    August 10, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Some songs cannot be translate because meaning may be lost in the translation. I grew up listening to Maricachi and Regional Mexican music, especially to Vicente Fernandez who is El Rey of de la Musica Ranchera and this new version of the song El Rey just made me gain even more respect and appreciation for George Straight and his music.

    Obviously George Strait is not the best interpreter of the song but you gotta love what he’s doing. A song like this was a great move for George Strait to please mostly Hispanics. Sorry to hear some people don’t understand the cultural meaning of him doing this.

    Some people who hate it are probably racists against Mexican immigrants and can’t stand to acknowledge the huge influence Mexicans have in Amercan culture. Well, get over it! We are in America, the land of immigrants!!

  67. Rosalinda
    August 10, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Absolutely amazing my Cowboy hat off for da King!!!

  68. Diana Martinez
    August 10, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    It is such a pleasure to listen to George Strait sing El Rey. I was just at the Cheatham club in San Marcos, TX and to see my Army hero from his early beginning to this break through. AWESOME!! I love the meaning of the song and GEORGE’s sining. The song to me is about a rebel who loves life and lives it to the fullest. IT Is just AWESOME George STRAIT! GO TEXAS COWBOY!!

  69. CF
    August 10, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Based on the clip, I like it a lot, and even though Strait is my top artist, I was pleasantly surprised about how good it is.

  70. MARIA B.
    August 11, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I’M HISPANIC AND I LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC. I’VE BEEN LISTENING FOR ABOUT 8 YEARS. WAY TO GO GEORGE!!!

  71. George Strait fan
    August 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    George Strait has been the most consistently good country performer I have ever seen live in concert. Not very exciting, just good songs

  72. Rick E.
    August 12, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Look folks this is as basic as they come…George is from Pearsall, Texas. SMALL ranch town in the heart of the Texas Brush Country. Mexican influences..you betcha..

    The song “El Rey” is one of those feel good, slam down a shot of the best Tequila, type of party songs in the Mexican culture. Since its inception it has provoked such storng feelngs of emotion in the Mexican male that he will rise and stand on the table and at the top of his lungs just let it all out…

    By singng this song George pays tribute to the people and the culture he truly loves. As far it not being country?? Where do you think all the Cowboy culture started? Argentina? Com’on. Texas by the very people George grew up with…Mexicans.

    Great JOB SIR George!!! Long live “El Rey” De Country Music.

    I hope he sings it at next years CMA awards!

  73. Loura
    August 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    What do you people mean it will not play? He sings spanish better then most spanish speaking people you dont know what you are talking about. I am glad that he did a song in spanish that goes to show he can do anything…..

  74. Diana
    August 16, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    PLEASE GEORGE STICK TO COUNTRY….after all that’s what you’re about…PLEASE

  75. Diana
    August 16, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    George please stick to Country…after all that’s what you’re all about….PLEASE..for sure i won’t be buying this album.

  76. Ana
    August 19, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Wow totally impressed, I listened and wow he did great. Why shouldn’t he do great he is a great singer, and pushing boundaries why not Latin singers are always trying to get into the English speaking music so why not the otherway around. this is fantastic

  77. Alvin
    September 15, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Garcia has let his time pass, he should have already been on the radio. For him to say the El Rey song was pretty good just shows he has alot to still learn about the business. His monotone voice is why he ahsn’t made it yet! He isn’t that good anyway, The El Rey song was great by Mr. Strait!

  78. JChav62
    November 23, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Excellent job!! Jorge Derecho is the MAN!!! He’s always been my favorite country singer and now I like him even more…. Que viva George Strait!!!!!!!!!!

  79. Myrt
    December 15, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    I’m bilingual and that darn guy has a better accent than I do. You go guy!

  80. Laura Barrios
    January 3, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    I am Hispanic and I love country music. It is really good to listen to somebody like George Strait singing in Spanish. I am really impressed. However, this song is very particular and probably needs to be sung with more “macho” swing. I found an English version of this song that explains Alfredo Jimenez’ intentions and it will help others to better understand what George Strait is saying. Here you go:

    EL REY (THE KING)

    I know you want me out of here
    When I die, I’ll see your tears
    And your flowers on my side,
    (You’ll cry on my side, you’ll cry on my side)
    You’d say that you never loved me
    but I’ll see you buried in sadness
    I won’t get out of your mind

    Whether or not I have money
    I’ll do my will in all my journeys
    It’ll be the law that I sing.
    I have not throne nor a queen,
    nobody who understands me
    But I’ll always be the King.

    One little rock on the road
    taught me my fate was to roll
    nobody will make me stop.
    (I won’t ever stop, I won’t ever stop)
    Later on a horse rider told me
    It won’t matter if you make it first
    just that you get to the top.

    Whether or not I have money
    I’ll do my will in all my journeys
    It’ll be the law that I sing.
    I have not throne nor a queen,
    nobody who understands me
    But I’ll always be the King.

  81. ERNEST ELIZONDO
    January 6, 2010 at 12:06 am

    GRORGE HAS BEING ONE MY FAROITE COUNTRY SINGER AND WILL ALWAYS BE NOW HE IS THE KING ……….

  82. Luis Bermudez
    January 18, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Hello Folks! I think George Strait is “De Padre”, it means he sings better than many hispanics! LOL. I am hispanic and I love country music and ranchera. I think any hispanic might like country music if they could understand it. I was listening to the girl you mentioned here and her name is not going to help her in the hispanic market,she does not have any “picardia” and you should have that to get hispanics’ attention. Maybe she will convince Americans singing in Spanish but she won’t ever get hispanics with those lyrics. What was her name? Star? She is kind of nice pero nada que ver, no tiene vida con nosotros! Arriba Jorgito!

  83. Vanessa
    May 18, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    That is a good song

  84. Jilmar
    September 24, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Being a huge fan of George Strait and also being latinamerican, I can definitely say he did a terrific job with “El Rey”. It’s not just difficult to take the chance to do something that brave, but to make it great… that’s a different story. Just by saying the “R’s” almost perfectly is amazing, and singing a song that’s known and sung all over the continent… I can only say he’s amazing and I love his music. Directly from Panama!!!

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