Various Artists

The Soulful Women Duets of South Texas

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Recorded for the Falcon label in McAllen, Texas, from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, this has four tracks apiece by a half-dozen female Tex-Mex acts: Las Hermanas Degollado, Las Hermanas Segovia, Las Hermanas Cantu, Las Hermanas Mendoza, Rosita Y Aurelia, and Las Dos Marias. Sung in Spanish exclusively, the songs usually feature accordion prominently, often in tandem with alto sax, while the bajo sexto, bass, and occasional percussion round out the arrangements. The juxtaposition of six such acts does help lend the collection more variety than many such anthologies of Mexican-American music from the period, though a basic vibe characterizes many of the selections: plaintive close harmonies and love songs that are forlorn even when the tempo is peppy ("go find some dry twigs and build yourself a crow's nest" reads the English translation to one lyric in Las Hermanas Segovia's "Contestacion a 'Quisiera Ser Pajarillo'"). Las Hermanas Mendoza's contributions stand out for their simpler arrangements, which emphasize the acoustic guitar more than their neighbors on this compilation. These Mendozas, incidentally, were Maria Mendoza and Juanita Mendoza, sisters of the legendary Mexican-American singer-guitarist Lydia Mendoza.

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