The Best of Lydia Mendoza (Arhoolie)
Reviewed by Belinda Acosta, Fri., June 13, 2008
Lydia MendozaThe Best of Lydia Mendoza (Arhoolie)
"La Alondra de la Frontera," Lydia Mendoza – "the Lark of the Border" – passed away in 2007, so it's rightfully time to start anthologizing. Best of features 17 songs laid down in chronological order, starting with an early rendition of her signature "Mal Hombre" (1934) and ending with 1982's wrenching "Pero Ay Qué Triste." Some early selections are restorations, so the sound's not as pristine as one would like, but by the time the tracks reach the 1950s, it's simply a joy to hear Mendoza in her prime – her voice rich, evocative, stately, the singer often accompanying herself on 12-string guitar. The extensive liner notes with lyrics and rarely seen photos transform this disc into a swan.