Roberto Delgado

Roberto Delgado Meets Kalinka

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One might be forgiven thinking there is a vocalist on Roberto Delgado Meets Kalinka. The title would suggest so, and the cover, featuring a beautiful barefoot woman asprawl in a rowboat would appear to support this assumption. Unfortunately, the truth is a little more banal: Meets Kalinka is a Delgado disco album based principally on traditional Russian folk songs, rearranged by Delgado, with a few nods to Russian influence in pop music -- "Midnight in Moscow," "Nadja's Theme," and of course the syrupy "Lara's Theme" from Dr. Zhivago. It is Maurice Jarre's populist melody that is the defining influence on Delgado's arrangements, albeit not the stunning melancholic theme of the film, but rather the pretty stylings of the Ray Conniff Singers, with its sweet strings and a sanitized chorus conjuring visions of a romantic Russia untouched by Cold War fears, Russian winters, or any other nastiness. There are no production credits on the album, but it is impossible to believe that Delgado's longtime collaborator Udo Bowien had anything to do with it. This record lacks the snap and immediacy of their work together. Delgado had fallen out of public favor by 1979, and was trying hard to ingratiate himself with a new audience. The back cover has a rare photo of the group, all decked out in white suits like a vanilla Bee Gees backup band, while the production is perfunctory. The drums thud and plod mechanically, the horns lazily chart, only the choir seems reasonably interested in what is going on. The Moog-enhanced "Midnight in Moscow" is a minor highlight (and even the weakest Delgado albums have minor highlights), but otherwise this is a sorry entry in the Delgado catalog. That it only was released in a few territories, and has never been reissued on CD, is the only reason it will continue to have some value for Delgado completists; casual fans should look elsewhere to find why the recordings of Roberto Delgado are held in such high regard by fans of the German schlager wave.

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