Ladi Geisler

Guitar a la Carte, Vol. 2

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Subtitled "Ladi Geisler Plays Russia's Greatest Hits," Guitar a la Carte, Vol. 2 is a typically capable Geisler record, featuring many of his own arrangements of traditional folk melodies plus such Russian-themed pop hits as "Those Were the Days" and Jarre's love song from the epic Dr. Zhivago, "Lara's Theme." Geisler again shows his marvelously fluid ability to simply create tone and expression, by turns rousing and dreamy, melancholic and upbeat, always spot-perfect. Balalaika and electric guitar are tackled with equal ease, while his long-term collaborator Horst Wende provides perfect fills, counterpoints, and melodic support on accordion, marimba, and organ. As usual with these collaborators, they have a difficult time sticking specifically to the restraints of the genre, for example injecting a mariachi horn section into "Casatchok" or banjo in "Those Were the Days," still it's all in upbeat good fun. Another quiet gem, this album is recommended to all fans of easy listening guitar, as are all the solo recordings of one of the least-heralded guitar wizards of the 20th century.

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