Wednesday, August 15, 2007

ALBUM REVIEW: JUAN DE LA CRUZ's "HIMIG NATIN" *****



As part of a classic reissue series, "Himig Natin" is the 1973 groundbreaking album that sparked the origin of the term 'Pinoy Rock' and the wave of original Filipino rock music that would dominate the 1970's. Interestingly enough, this is the group's second album but the first with it's classic power trio line-up of bassist/vocalist Mike Hanopol, guitarist Wally Gonzales and drummer/vocalist Joey Smith (the first album is from 1971 called "Up In Arms" with Gonzales as part of the original band).


JDLC's 1st official album, "Up In Arms"


Aside from the classic hits, 'Rock N' Roll Sa Ulan', 'Mamasyal Sa Pilipinas' and the seminal PInoy Rock anthem, 'Ang Himig Natin', this album is drenched in psychedelic rock and heavy blues. As the group opens with 'Take You Home', the only word that comes to mind is...H-E-A-V-Y. This is the aural equivalent of a herd of brontosauruses trudging thru the flatlands several million years ago. 'I Wanna Say Yeah' has a R&B Motown feel reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix's Band Of Gypsys. They use a Chicago blues feel on 'Round And Round' and down n' dirty Delta blues on 'Blues Train' where Wally Gonzales burns the fretboard like a man possesed.


Wally Gonzalez


Joey 'Pepe' Smith


Mike Hanopol

The Smith-penned 'Shake Your Brain' is another gem that deserves 'classic' recognition. The spotlight though, is on the title song. A song about how important music is to the Filipino and should be one of the top 5 best Filipino songs ever written. All the planets were definitely aligned when JDLC recorded this masterpiece. From the opening acoustic guitar riff and piano accompaniment to it's beautiful lyrics and Wally Gonzales' awe-inspiring guitar solo, it is the perfect song that touches the very core of being Filipino. The impact that this song and album made on PInoy Rock was never imitated and can never be duplicated.

13 comments:

telle said...

i love juan dela cruz's ang himig natin! and im 14, so it really breaks the generation barrier.

ive been thinking about incorporating the song into a performance we have to do for school with the theme 'nationalismo noon at ngayon' and relating it to ninoy aquino.

long live juan dela cruuuzzzz!

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