While Tish Hinojosa only recorded briefly for the Watermelon label at the beginning of her career, Taos to Tennessee, Aquella Noche, and Memorabilia Navidena represented a distinct body of work from a new singer/songwriter. While Hinojosa grew up in Texas, she kept close ties to her Mexican heritage, often choosing to sing in Spanish. This bilingual, bicultural approach also lent her songwriting a unique subject matter. Add to this her lovely, warm voice and pleasant country-folk arrangements, and there's much to admire on her early albums. The cuts from Taos to Tennessee represent five of the best pieces from Hinojosa's delightful debut. These songs, including the title track and "Prairie Moon," are as poignant and tuneful as anything she has written. There's also her achingly beautiful vocal on Irving Berlin's "Always," which evokes Patsy Cline. Recorded live and in Spanish, Aquella Noche offers melodious songs surrounded by rich acoustic guitars and Latin percussion. The effervescent "Samba San Pedro" reminds one of a bossa nova classic, while the quieter "Anos, Meses y Dias" is delivered with the simplicity of a traditional Spanish folk song. Only three songs represent Memorabilia Navidena, an album of holiday music. Four previously unreleased songs also enrich the disc, including a duet, "By the Rio Grande," with Kris Kristofferson. While this album succeeds as a representative collection, one wouldn't want to miss out on her other albums, especially the delightful Taos for Tennessee. The Best of Sandia serves as a good introduction to the early work of Tish Hinojosa.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
feat: Kris Kristofferson