Various Artists

Stripping the Parrots: Essential Merengue

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It's hard to beat the loony rural merengue of the Dominican Republic, which may or may not add a splendidly manic solo sax style bouncing off the accordion. This is a great introduction from five bands, four of them accordion-centered (one with sax), the fifth a bachata guitar group. All have that real rural sound, jaunty, repetitive and exhilaratingly unpretentious. (The title comes from the Spanish name of the style -- it's all in the notes.

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