Carlos Gardel

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The first vocalist of the tango, Carlos Gardel had one of most natural and effortless tenors of his era in any genre. This collection offers 24 tangos from Gardel's prolific catalog, and totals more than an hour. Included here are his biggest hits, "Mi Buenos Aires Querido," "Le Cancion de Buenos Aires," "Bandoneon Arrabalero," "Por una Cabeza," "Caminito Soleado," and "Matala," among others. While this disc is a budget-line offering, and it is sketchy on information save for songwriting credits and a very short biographical sketch, the sound quality is as good as anything else out there -- fair to good considering the last thing here was recorded in 1935, the year of Gardel's death. It is also, as best as one can tell, arranged chronologically. This makes it a fascinating listen because it traces Gardel's development from being a cabaret and theater singer to creating the vocal style that illustrated the swirling instrumental prowess of the tango. Safe to say, by the time one reaches "Se Llama Mujer" near the end of the recording, the singer who so suavely belted out "Madreselva" has been transformed into an emotional firestorm of passion and pathos. This is a thrilling listen for anyone interested in real Argentine tango.

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