MASTER OF REMBETIKA - THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1932-1937 PLUS SELECTED RECORDINGS FROM 1938 (4CD)
JSP is cornering the market with it's beautifully programmed series of Greek rembetika music. This fifth set is an important collection from the legendary Markos Vamvakaris whose relentlessly rock-steady bouzouki playing and deep, leathery singing style made him an instant attraction in the tekes where mangas smoked their dope while listening to his hard-hitting songs about drugs and booze, bad women, two timers and heartless blonde girls. I believe that if Marika Ninou is the Memphis Minnie of rembetika, then Markos is Charley Patton!
He recorded with the cream of rembetika stars, playing duets with the girls Rita Abadzi, Sophia Karivali, Anna Politissa, Korina Thessalonikia, Elly Petridou, cut sheer classics with legends like Yiorgos Batis, Anestis Delias and Stratos Payioumidzis and made hits in the early years with his favourite guitarist Kostas Skarvelis. Whoever accompanied him, every Vamvakaris track is filled with the hard-hitting, brooding intensity of his wonderful bouzouki technique and growling vocals.
Rembetika aficionados will be thrilled to hear the 85 gems stashed on this box set. Once again, Charles Howard compiled and annotated this music and it was remastered, as only he can, by engineering genius Ted Kendall.
Review Date: October 2010