Various Artists

Tejano Roots: The Women (1946-1970)

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Recorded for the Ideal label in Texas between 1946 and 1970, this gathers about an hour's worth of female-sung Tejano music, from a time in which the form was ignored by companies outside of the region. Most (but not all) of the 22 tracks are duets, sometimes between sister teams, and are often punched up with conjunto and orquesta accompaniment; the liner notes speculate that this was because the growing Tejano middle class disapproved of the accordion sound and its proletarian associations. From a sociological point of view, this music was interesting in that it offered Tejano women creative outlets in a musical and social environment in which females were discouraged from taking place in activities outside of the home. Anthropological considerations aside, it's a decent collection of ranchera, bolero, and cancion variants of the Tex-Mex sound, with occasional solo artists (including Lydia Mendoza) amidst the duets; Chelo Silva's dignified bolero "Si Acaso Vuelves" is a standout.

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