Thursday, January 03, 2008

Lydia Mendoza, 1916-2007


It must have been the holiday commotion. I somehow missed the news that Lydia Mendoza died December 20.

At her commercial peak, Mendoza was the most beloved star in Mexican-American music. I imagine today's equivalent would be Vicente Fernandez. "Aunque Venga Muy Borracho" ("Though I'm Very Drunk") is part of a deeply soulful solo acoustic session recorded in San Antonio in 1979. While it's not representative of the hits she began releasing in 1934, it's a great example of the way she invested her personality into her songs. It also showcases her strong voice and fine guitar work.

I highly recommend La Gloria de Texas, but this set is probably a better place to start.

"You can't find me because I'm lost in the music," Lil Wayne exclaims on "Kush," a ridiculous ode to himself and a certain intoxicant. It's one of five songs on The Leak, a download-only release I acquired a couple days ago. Even tracks like "I'm Me," which are purely statements of self-aggrandizement, are unaccountably compelling. Here's Weezy on his relationship to hip hop: "I'm married to that crazy b**ch- call me Kevin Federline!"

Only when I heard Wilco's "Either Way" sandwiched between selections from Revolver and Pet Sounds on New Year's Eve did I realize that it's one of the most brilliant pop songs of the new millennium.

Kansas City Click: Casey Todd, an excellent songwriter, plays a ritzy restaurant up north tonight.

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