Various Artists
La Coleccion Cubana - Cuba Esencial
Music Club (

This anthology hopes to build on the success of Buena Vista Social Club, in part by reprising older versions of some tunes from those albums. Almost half the cuts are from the era when Cubans were copying recording techniques of Euro pop; crooning back up trios, electric guitars, synthesizers, enervated rhythm sections et al. Horrors!

Most of the rest of the album is much better but, aside from two cuts of big band Benny More (not representative of his best stuff) and one pre-big band example from the great Septeto Nacional, most of this stuff is grit-less. And a Josephine Baker cut? Forget it!

Do yourself a favor and find albums by Septeto Nacional, Trio Matamoros, Fajardo, Arsenio Rodriguez, Ritmo Oriental, Antonio Romeu, Benny More etc. and hear some of the great stuff. - Stacy Phillips

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