12 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Following an amazing three-album run from 1990 to 1992, Texas Tornados took a four-year breather before returning in 1996 with 4 Aces. The group didn’t approach album-making from a rock band’s perspective. Their records were essentially advertisements for the shows they'd perform on the Texas dancehall circuit—the kind of Saturday-night dance parties that originally gave birth to the band’s merger of South Texas musical styles. Like any good touring act, they stayed true to their vision while continually adding new material. Sahm stepped up to the plate with this one, demonstrating his uncanny ability to deliver new classics on command. “Little Bit Is Better Than Nada” adds to a canon of signature songs that began with 1965’s “She’s About a Mover” (which the Tornados performed at every concert). As usual, Freddy Fender delivers a few sterling ballads (“In My Mind,” “The Gardens”), and Flaco Jimenez provides accordion flourishes that tie everything together. The music is always predicated on rhythm, and the foursome is most alive on chugging Sahm-led cuts like “Clinging to You.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Following an amazing three-album run from 1990 to 1992, Texas Tornados took a four-year breather before returning in 1996 with 4 Aces. The group didn’t approach album-making from a rock band’s perspective. Their records were essentially advertisements for the shows they'd perform on the Texas dancehall circuit—the kind of Saturday-night dance parties that originally gave birth to the band’s merger of South Texas musical styles. Like any good touring act, they stayed true to their vision while continually adding new material. Sahm stepped up to the plate with this one, demonstrating his uncanny ability to deliver new classics on command. “Little Bit Is Better Than Nada” adds to a canon of signature songs that began with 1965’s “She’s About a Mover” (which the Tornados performed at every concert). As usual, Freddy Fender delivers a few sterling ballads (“In My Mind,” “The Gardens”), and Flaco Jimenez provides accordion flourishes that tie everything together. The music is always predicated on rhythm, and the foursome is most alive on chugging Sahm-led cuts like “Clinging to You.”

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