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EMI CD 7243 2

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I had a hard time trying to decide just where to place this double CD set from EMI titled  "Ta Rembetika" for the simple reason that there aren't any dates given for any of the tracks contained on this excellent 2 CD set.  However it sounds as if the cuts were recorded from the late 40's to the mid 60's, with many of them probably made during the 1950's. I've that impression because one can clearly detect the utilization of an electrified Bouzouke on several of these tracks. This was a sound not generally heard until the 50's. That  might make this CD set, something of a Mini-Anthology for the late second period.  There are a total of 38 songs by people such as Vavakaris, Tsitsanis, Ninou, Binis, Yeorgakopoulu, Bitsikothis, Bellou, Abatsi and Poly Panou among others. It is not exactly an Archival document although there are several cuts with that all too characteristic "archival" type sound. In any case if you are looking for a good overall two-disk Anthology with mostly second generation content, your going to have a difficult time finding something that will beat this 2 disk set from EMI.  All performances are authentic and most of the tracks are quite listenable as far as the actual recording is concerned. However because most were recorded during the second period, they are considerably easier on the ear then most of the other "Archival" materiel reviewed here. Though to be fair, most of those "Archival" CD's naturally focus on performances from a significantly earlier period. There are several cuts on this set, that are also duplicated on a few of the other CD's mentioned on this site but there doesn't seem to be any significant difference in the audible quality among them. Having noted that, you will still hear various extraneous artifacts such as pops and clicks along with the obligatory surface scratches every now and then on certain tracks.  It would have been nice if EMI would have gone the extra mile and put a few of these cuts through some type of Digital Restoration process before they committed them to CD. But perhaps I'm just picking nits, because my overall impression of this document is generally favorable because most of the voices are clear and the instrumental accompaniment is relatively well defined. Although the CD transfer could have been improved significantly.  

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