Various Artists

15 Early Tejano Classics

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Tracks from 15 tejano albums in the Arhoolie catalog are featured on this budget-priced sampler; Freddy Fender and (to a lesser degree) Lydia Mendoza are the only artists who might enjoy a reasonably wide degree of name recognition among the general public. An advantage of a sampler such as this, which at a glance draws helter-skelter from a bunch of unrelated artists, is that there's more diversity than there is on typical tejano music anthologies, most of which draw from a certain style or era. Actually, a lot of this does date back a few decades (or even more). There are some good orquestas with a near big-band feel to the arrangements, a raw (almost garage) sentimental Spanish rocker from Fender, a melancholy bolero from Chelo Silva, and good harmonies by Carmen y Laura. It's a good intro compilation to the style whether you're on a budget or not, although because it's in a budget series, there are hardly any liner notes.

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