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Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Tex-Mex

The Rough Guide to Tex-Mex includes some impelling grooves and much fancy accordion playing, by Flaco Jimenez, Tony de la Rosa and plenty more, and Mingo Saldivar Y Sus Tremendos Cuatro Espadas’ Spanish version of “Ring of Fire” (“Rueda de Fuego”) alone is worth the price of admission. The album confirms what some of us, unbowed by Stateside stereotyping, already knew: Tex-Mex is great, world-class world music. It’s a happy cultural marriage, like the name suggests, that crosses the border much more freely than the respective citizenry.

But then, you know, music don’t need no stinking badges.

Originally Published