Duets

COMPOSERS: Compay Segundo
LABELS: Gasa
PERFORMER: Compay Segundo, various artists
CATALOGUE NO: 0927-43228-2

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COMPAY SECUNDO, surprisingly brings the duff album of the month, nothing but star guests from Cesaria Evora to Antonio Banderas. It’s called after the backing singer — fair enough, since that is Compay’s job and he is named for it. Trouble is that his job is also to blend, while his nonagenarian croaks now stick out.

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The duet with Charles Aznavour is memorably awful on both sides. It’s best when he just growls, as in a bouncy number with Lou Bega. One that oughtn’t to work, with Khaled, comes off as a brilliant three-minute trip from Cuba to Algeria. Otherwise the gaff is blown by the final track, a light and pacy song from 1950 which shows that the musicians being sold as ‘authentic survivors’ were very different in their prime.