“Tu Recuerdo y Yo” by José Alfredo Jiménez, English translation of lyrics

“Your Memory and Me”
Composer: José Alfredo Jiménez
Style: Ranchera, sad song about reminiscing at a bar about a lost love.
Country: Mexico
Listen: YouTube


Estoy en el rincón de una cantina,
Oyendo una canción que yo pedí.
Me están sirviendo ahorita mi tequila,
Ya va mi pensamiento rumbo a ti.

I am in the corner of a bar,
Listening to a song I myself requested.
They are serving my tequila to me right now,
Already my thoughts are on their way to you.

Yo sé que tu recuerdo es mi desgracia
Y vengo aquí nomás a recordar.
Qué amargas son las cosas que nos pasan
Cuando hay una mujer que paga mal.

I know that your memory is my disgrace
And I come here just to remember.
How bitter are the things that happen to us
When there’s a woman that pays badly.

Quien no sabe en esta vida,
La traición tan conocida
Que nos deja un mal amor.

Who doesn’t know in this life,
The well-known betrayal
That a bad love leaves us.

Quien no llega a la cantina,
Exigiendo su tequila,
Y exigiendo su canción.

Who doesn’t arrive to the bar,
Demanding his tequila,
And demanding his song.

Me están sirviendo ya la del estribo.
Ahorita ya no sé si tengo fe.
Ahorita solamente ya les pido
Que toque otra vez “La que se fue”.

They are serving my farewell drink already.
Right now I don’t know if I have faith.
Right now all I ask them is
To play one more time “She who left”.

[Repeat from coda]

Translation Notes:

Cuando hay una mujer que paga mal
When there’s a woman that pays badly

pagar mal – lit. to pay badly
It’s saying she wasn’t fair with her part of the relationship. She caused damage.

La traición tan conocida
The well-known betrayal
lit. The betrayal so well-known

Me están sirviendo ya la del estribo
They are serving my farewell drink already
approx. They are serving me already the one for nudging me out

estribo [noun, m.] = the metal part attached to the saddle of a horse; the spur; the brace

la del estribo = colloquial: last drink before leaving
(RAE says that it’s colloquial for Argentina, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Uruguay, and Venezuela)

Que toque otra vez “La que se fue”.

Let them play once again “She who left”.
Let them play once again “She who got away”.

This is the name of another José Alfredo Jiménez song, likely the song he requested at the beginning of this song. He is nostalgic for a former lover and another song he wrote about them.

Other Renditions:

Vicente Fernandez, Mexican

Tania Libertad, Peruvian-Mexican

Lupillo Rivera, Mexican-American, album “Las Favoritas De Mi Viejo” (My Old Man’s Favorites)

Joe Posada, Mexican singer and actor, operatic mariachi

Jose Alfredo Jimenez – without accents so WordPress search finds my song lyrics translation

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