Canciones de Mi Padre (Remastered)
Linda Ronstadt was searching for a winning sound in the late '80s, some years after her peak, but that fact doesn’t in any way diminish the feat that was 1987’s Canciones de Mi Padre. Ronstadt had made her name in the '70s with brash, uninhibited folk-pop like “When Will I Be Loved” and “Blue Bayou,” and she later flirted with New Wave and jazz standards. But when she returned to her German-Mexican roots, singing songs her father crooned to her as a child, the force and quality of the album likely astonished her record label, which probably wasn’t expecting this release to go double-platinum. Yet it did. The year had seen the release of two hugely popular Latino-themed films—La Bamba and Born in East L.A.—and Canciones may have fortuitously played into the cultural moment. But that wasn’t the whole story. Singing with a mariachi band seemed to liberate Ronstadt, unlocking new rooms in her already capacious voice. You can hear her inspiration, Mexican great Lola Beltrán, in the way she commits her body and soul to every song. When she holds a note in “La Cigarra”—a song about wanting to sing right up until the moment of death—it is an earth-shaking event. She’s equally at home with rancheras, corridos, and huapangos, dancing dizzily through “La Charreada” and singing with a sob in her voice in “Por un Amor.” When she finishes with the farmworker anthem “El Sol Que Tu Eres,” she has clearly cast her lot in with la gente, crafting a suite of songs that celebrate every facet of her heritage.