January 9th - Dios, Familia y Tierra
Dios, Familia y Tierra - Debbie Martinez, 1979
Having written about Folkways and Cook, it feels very proper to bring up M.O.R.E. (Minority Owned Record Enterprises). A New Mexico-based label founded by Ricardo Martinez and run in part by today's artist, Debbie Martinez, M.O.R.E. released hundreds of regional albums, focusing on the Nuevo Mexicano style of mariachi music - it is precisely the sort of small label that would have completely disappeared if the archives hadn't been passed on and maintained by Smithsonian Folkways.
Debbie Martinez was a member of the extremely musical Martinez family, but don't think that this album is nepotistic - she has a rich and subtle voice, backed here with lush instrumentation and apparently a regionally-specific style of violin playing, although I'm not qualified to comment. Neither am I qualified to comment on the lyrical content, not, uh, speaking Spanish at all. But the songs themselves are great - from El Aguacera, which beautifully highlights Martinez's voice, to the mariachi hymn Resucito.
Click here to read liner notes and purchase this album from Smithsonian Folkways