Linda Ronstadt

Mi Jardin Azul: Las Canciones Favoritas

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Mi Jardin Azul: Las Canciones Favoritas is a collection culled from Linda Ronstadt's three Spanish-language recordings: Canciones de Mi Padre (1988), Mas Canciones (1990), and Frenesi (1992). In addition, it features the self-penned cut "Lo Siento Mi Vida" from the 1976 album Hasten Down the Wind. While the compilation contains no new tracks, its issue makes sense because Ronstadt won Grammys for each of her Spanish-language outings. Its remastered sound, personal notes, and photographs that annotate the selections make for a fine travelogue through this aspect of the singer's long career. It is worth mentioning, too, for those who never encountered Ronstadt's forays into Spanish-language and Latin music, that these titles are all among the most interesting and compelling in her catalog. There is no hint of revisionism or novelty in their presentation or articulation. They are works of popular art that reflect not only her heritage, but a kind of intimate history of this music in North America -- while many of the songs here are well known in their communities of origin, this was their first hearing for most Anglos who brought them, via each individual album's popularity, into the canon of mainstream music and paved the way for artists like Los Lobos to make albums such as La Pistola y el Corazon (one of their finest outings ever). Ronstadt proved such projects could work and made major-label corporate interests open to them. Musically, this set is gorgeous: full of life and passion, and brimming with stunning moments in both the vocal performances and arrangements. Wonderful.

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