Rocío Dúrcal

Amor del Alma

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Released on the third anniversary of Spanish ranchera legend Rocío Dúrcal's death, Amor del Alma: Los Mejores Boleros y Baladas de Rocío Dúrcal is a three-disc compilation of latter-day material. The 58-track compilation includes many of her greatest hits, plus a pair of previously unreleased duets that were posthumously recorded with technological assistance. These two duets, "Jamás Te Dejaré" with Junior and "Amor Eterno" with Shaila Dúrcal, are a sample of a full album's worth of virtual duets released later in the year as Duetos (2009). Among the greatest hits compiled on Amor del Alma are "Cómo Han Pasado los Años," "Frente a Frente," and "Costumbres." Amid these greatest hits are some rarities, including a handful of recordings never before released in Spain such as "Me Basta," which had originally appeared on a José José tribute album, and a version of "La Gata Bajo la Lluvia" recorded in 2002 with Raúl di Blasio on piano. These rarities are nothing to get excited about, however, and like the couple of aforementioned virtual duets, it seems as though they're included not on the basis of merit but rather as a means of marketing this compilation to fans who already have much of this material in their collection. For example, Amor del Alma includes six of the ten songs from Hay Amores y Amores (1996), to pick just one of her latter-day studio albums, and all except a few songs from the recently released single-disc greatest-hits collection Amor Eterno: Los Exitos (2006). The overlapping material is one problem. Another more maddening problem is how Amor del Alma is sequenced seemingly at random. A chronological sequence would seem most logical, giving listeners a chance to hear Dúrcal's career progress over time; however, sequencing the tracks chronologically might also illustrate how many of these tracks are drawn from the same small set of latter-day albums under the ownership of Sony BMG. All the same, one can't complain about the material, even if much of it is overly familiar and randomly sequenced. Dúrcal is a legend for good reason, and Amor del Alma economically serves up over three and a half hours of the late singer at her latter-day best. Still, one wishes a box set of this magnitude were more studiously compiled and spanned the entirety of her 40-plus-year recording career rather than a mere fraction of it.

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