February 15, 1995
Tish Hinojosa, Destiny's Gate (Warner Bros. 1994) -- Now approaching age 40, singer/songwriter Tish Hinojosa has been making music for most of her life. On her Warner Bros. debut, Destiny's Gate, Tish gently melds pop, country, and norteno to produce a comfortable, easy-listening album. Friendly and accessible, Destiny's Gate is sure to please fans of vintage Carly Simon and Linda Ronstadt.
Tish was born and raised in Texas, and is part of a large family. With her exposure to a wide range of musical influences (including the pervasive sounds of Mexican radio), Tish quickly developed a broad-based musical personality.
In 1979, she moved to New Mexico and started working with progressive country artists in that area. Nashville soon called, and she spent two years in the early 80s making the rounds of Music City. When her more open sound didn't appeal to Nashville's "Big Hat" mentality, she returned to New Mexico and recorded her now-classic disc, Taos to Tennessee.
Based on the respect garnered by Taos to Tennessee, Tish returned to Austin, Texas in 1988, where she found that her eclectic style was a natural fit in this burgeoning music community. Since then, Tish has worked on several projects, including 1989's Homeland (which was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos).
The 12 tracks on Destiny's Gate hew closely to the country/folk line, as Tish sings of family, homelife and commitment. In addition, with songs like "Esperate," Tish shows her ability to bridge easily into Latin music.
Overall, Destiny's Gate has a gentle, easy feeling. While the album is short on pop-oriented material, Tish has a sweet voice and unobtrusive presence that should please the country music lover in you.
The Iguanas, Nuevo Boogaloo (Margueritaville/MCA 1994) -- Another sweaty entry from the Crescent City is Nuevo Boogaloo, a fine contribution from The Iguanas. Featuring strong original songwriting by lead singer Rod Hodges, Nuevo Boogaloo continues the proud tradition of horn-driven, Tex-mex bar/dance music.
Which only proves that there's no simple description for this indigenous American music. From Richie Valens to Los Lobos to the Blazers, this kind of swingin', horn-heavy bar rock has a unique place in our musical landscape. Though obscure new raves may get more attention, this kind of music will never go away.
The Iguanas, who formed in 1990, are earnest bearers of the tradition. Consisting of Rod Hodges on guitar and vocals, Doug Garrison on drums, Derrick Huston on alto and tenor sax, Rene Coman on bass and piano, and Joe Cabral on tenor and baritone sax, the 13 tracks on Nuevo Boogaloo have a big sound that clearly works best on stage.
The album starts out extremely strong; the lead-off cut, "Oye Isabel," is a rocking number that sounds like Los Lobos at their swingin' best. The next cut, "Boom, Boom, Boom," is the best track on the disc; with its catchy chorus, "Boom, Boom, Boom" is terrific dance-floor fodder.
As the album continues, it begins to run out of steam; the band loaded up their best cuts at the front end of the disc. However, the good numbers are well-produced, extremely likeable cuts. While some critics claim to hear a darker theme in some of the material, this mood is not fully refined. Instead, Nuevo Boogaloo is aimed at the dance floor. If this band ever came to town, I'm positive they'd knock your socks off. Meanwhile, you'll have to settle for the disc.
How Things Work -- A CD begins as a piece of transparent polycarbonate plastic (the same stuff used to make football helmets and bulletproof windshields). The data representing the music is molded into the top of the disc (the label side) in the form of microscopic pits. The pitted surface is then coated with metal (usually aluminum) to reflect the laser beam from the CD player. Finally, a protective acrylic layer is applied to the disc, and a label is printed on the album.
The laser in the player is aimed toward the bottom side of the disc (the non-label side), and reads the data by reflection. While CDs have long been touted as "indestructible," this statement only applies to the bottom side of the disc. Though small scratches in the bottom side of the disc can often be repaired so as to keep the disc playable, the label side of the disc (which covers the reflective metal coating) is extremely vulnerable to damage.
A scratch on the label side can cause irreparable damage the data, making the disc unplayable. Your discs are valuable -- so take care of them.
-- Randy Krbechek
Copyright (c) Randy Krbechek
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