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Gipsy Kings Greatest Hits
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  • After ten years of playing in the streets, at weddings, and in restaurants, the Gipsy Kings were swept away in a feast of commercial and critical success in the late '80s. By the late '90s, they had sold over 15 million albums worldwide and become one of the best-selling all-Spanish language acts in U.S. history. Their Greatest Hits collection, released in 1998, aptly reflects the time-perfected technique and soulful delivery that allowed them to transcend ethnic and age differences as few bands have. The introductory sequence of songs simply explodes out of the blocks. If consecutive hip-shakers "Djobi, Djoba," "Baila Me," "Bamboleo," "Pida Me La," "Bem, Bem, Maria," and "Volare" don't have you at least tapping your feet, someone ought to take your pulse. The tempo relaxes modestly in the middle section, with slower but equally moving love songs such as "Tu Quieres Volver" and "Mi Manera." The album finishes with a fluid medley of their most popular material. Wisely, seven of the album's 18 tracks were taken from the Gipsy Kings' 1988 self-titled debut, including "Bamboleo," "Djobi, Djoba," and "Moorea." However, it isn't easy to date their music, as most of it was written long before they had recorded in the studio. "Dona" and "Amor" are on a number of their earlier recordings, in addition to appearing on this compilation. Their seven-guitar version of the Migliacci Brothers' classic "Volare," a necessary addition for any greatest hits package, injects vigor and vitality into a song with dour lounge act connotations. If any fault is to be found with this collection, it might be the underrepresentation of the Love & Liberte album. But another, more complete double-CD greatest hits compilation (The Very Best of the Gipsy Kings) does exist for hardcore fans. This Greatest Hits album, accessible from start to finish, serves as an excellent introduction for just about any kind of music lover. ~ Kieran McCarthy
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