Juan Luis Guerra y 440 / Juan Luis Guerra

Grandes Exitos de Juan Luis Guerra 4.40

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Among the many fine Juan Luis Guerra albums and compilations released over the decades, there's no better starting point than Grandes Éxitos de Juan Luis Guerra 4.40, which compiles a marvelous array of highlights from the Dominican icon's late-'80s and early-'90s rise to fame. Originally issued in 1995, Grandes Éxitos de Juan Luis Guerra 4.40 has been released in a variety of editions over the years. The cover art and track listings vary on some editions, and a few different bonus tracks were added at one time or another. Regardless of these slight variations, all editions stick with the same time frame and feature the same core set of hit singles and fan favorites. Guerra's career began to peak with his fourth album, Ojalá Que Llueva Café (1989). Three songs from that album ("Visa Para un Sueño," "Ojalá Que Llueva Café," "Woman del Callao") are compiled on Grandes Éxitos de Juan Luis Guerra 4.40. Astonishingly, seven of the ten songs from fifth album Bachata Rosa (1990) are compiled here ("Rosalía," "Como Abeja al Panal," "Carta de Amor," "A Pedir Su Mano," "La Bilirrubina," "Burbujas de Amor," "Bachata Rose"). Since all of these songs are great, it's not really a problem except that it leaves precious little space for material from the successive albums Areíto (1992) and Fogaraté (1994), in particular the hit singles "Señales de Humo," "Coronita de Flores," "Mal de Amor," "Viviré," and "El Beso de la Ciguatera," all of which are missing here. Clearly favoring Guerra's breakout albums Ojalá Que Llueva Café and Bachata Rosa, Grandes Éxitos de Juan Luis Guerra 4.40 may not be the most representative compilation, but there's no question that it's filled with fantastic material and makes for an ideal introduction to Guerra's early classics.

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