Compay Segundo

El Compadre Again

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Since his death (and even during his lifetime), there have been numerous compilations of material by Compay Segundo (real name Francisco Repilado). Each one, it seems, has his famous "Chan Chan" in some version, as if the only legal way to put out something of his is to include the song. This is no exception, but at least it doesn't trumpet the classic piece of song right up front, and shows Segundo as both writer and interpreter. It's quite true that he was a master of guaracha and son, with a laid-back, slightly raffish air to his music, as on the sly "Oui, Je Parle Français," while "Descripción de un Seuño" is a perfect evocation of rural Cuba in its style. There's no doubt as to the quality of the material or the performances, although you won't have any luck looking at the sleeve notes to discover when they were recorded. His great achievements are shown, and many they are, but beyond that you're whistling in the wind. And that's a shame, since it would be useful to know more, for example, about "Villancico Guajiro," which has a vintage sheen. Sometime you get copyright dates, sometimes you don't. And that leaves you no choice but to sit back and just enjoy the music, which is easy to do. Another Segundo compilation; more excellent songs.

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