Oi Rebetis Kai


Tragouthia Tous

( The Rebetis and their Songs )

CD #3

Ioannis Papaioannou  

FM 862


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This is a recording that came as part of a Boxed three CD set on the FM label, that includes recordings by Panyiatos Tountas and Youghos Vidhalis. I'm not sure if the CD's are available for purchase separately but more often then not they usually are. This particular CD by Papaiaoannou was recorded live (apparently Greeks love live recordings) and gives one a pretty fair conception of why he was, and in all probability will always remain, such a legendary figure.  In our "Mini-Bio" on Papaioannou, I described some of his songs as possessing a certain elegance and "swing" factor. Both these characteristics are very much in evidence on this excellent live recording.  Unfortunately the CD did not come with any type of liner notes (a glaring omission for such a great document), so we don't know when or where this live event took place. However it is a relatively modern recording with excellent playback characteristics and without the occasional distracting artifacts that inevitably often result from a live session.

 Papaioannou was always recognized as one of the great showman of Rebetiko. All eyewitness accounts testify to the fact, that he really  knew how to work a crowd. His live performances were always something of a special event and his driving delivery style (like many of his compositions) was always "Triple A".  He  was also one of the great instrumentalist of his day although interestingly enough, he is rarely ever considered in this light. This oversight is probably more a testament to his remarkable ability and success as a composer then anything else.  Many of his songs were very big hits across the Atlantic with the Greek-American community during the early 60's.  Even as a young kid in Chicago, I can clearly recall everyone going wild over his stuff. This was particularly true concerning one of his compositions titled " SVIXE TO PHOS NA KIMITHOUME " (Shut the light so we can go to sleep) which unfortunately is not one of the tracks included on this CD, (although I have included a version of it performed by the Rebetissis Polly Panou in the review for the EMI Anthology titled "TA Rebetika"). This was a song that practically became something a Greek-American National Anthem of sorts. It was all very amusing, because I can clearly recall many of those who had long lost their facility with the language, were now going out of their way to learn that one!  Consequently Ioannis Papaioannou had probably been more responsible for having given our American born Hyphenated crowd, more of a reason to stay Bilingual then any carload of University trained Classical Scholars or busload of Byzantine Arch-Bishops. That, kind and gentle reader, is the true meaning of the term Inspiration. And inspiration was an characteristic, that Ioannis Papaioannou possessed in spades !