Roberto Delgado

Samba Caramba South America Ole

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When Max Bygraves recorded The Cowpunchers Cantata in 1952, he invented a formula that would remove the need for artistic creativity to sell records to a hit-happy public; for the rest of his career he was successful by covering popular hit songs strung together in a seamless medley. Ever since, that same formula has been reworked with solid sales results -- the Stars on 45 series in the disco era, for example, or the Elvis mash-ups of the late '90s. In 1971, Roberto Delgado decided to take a stab at the formula, and Samba Caramba South America Ole is the result. The album is a steady stream of popular Latin American melodies, from the vintage "Amopola" and "Rum and Coca Cola," through to such constant staples as "La Bamba" and "El Condor Pasa." All the players turn in their choruses with equal skill -- Ladi Geisler on guitar, Delgado on marimbas, and Herb Geller on flute -- for 28 songs played with proficiency and skill, blandly upbeat without any attempt to jazz things up or step out of the formula. It sold well -- in 1971 all his records did -- but has not been reissued on CD, and is now relegated to oblivion as an unexciting and unessential part of the Delgado catalog.

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