Performance: Un poco loco
Recording: Muy bueno
When Linda Ronstadt and Danny Valdez appeared on the Tonight Show to plug this record, they stood on stage with a lone guitar and sang El sol que tú eres in a performance of almost unbearable beauty. Now comes the record itself, but I'm afraid it sounds more like the soundtrack to Three Amigos than that tantalizing sample would have led you to expect.

In making "Canciones de mi padre," Ronstadt hoped to pay tribute to her Mexican heritage and to spark interest in underappreciated mariachi. To that end, she sings corridos (story songs), rancheras (folk dances), and ballads as if there were no mañana, and she sings them in Spanish, supplying English translations on the sleeve. Now, Ronstadt has proved in the past that she can cross over genre lines, but even with Mexican genes to back her up it's a big jump from Nelson Riddle to bandleader Ruben Fuentes, who stuffs trumpets into mariachi bands like pimentos into olives. For the most part this album, with its dancing strings and cast of happy thousands, sounds like a goof, a joke of a party record containing some of the most cornball music in this repertoire. Some of the numbers are affecting- standards like Los laureles and La cigarra- but any way you look at it, this is a personal piece of work with limited appeal.

                                           Alanna Nash

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