If you don't know who Camarón and Paco are, it will have to suffice to say that they are (or were, in Camarón's case), by universal consensus the greatest flamenco singer and guitarist of the last fifty years.
However, their recording history, confusing enough even at the beginning, is now so complex that I think it worthwhile to include a short guide as to where the present album fits in.
They started recording together in 1969, when Paco was barely into his twenties and Camarón even younger; the collaboration revolutionised both their chosen fields, and changed the course of Flamenco forever.
Unbelievably, their first five records together were ALL excitingly entitled "El Camarón de la Isla con la colaboración especial de Paco de Lucía". For this reason, they are known to aficonados by the titles of their opening tracks, as follows:
1969 Al verte las flores lloran
1970 Cada vez que nos miramos
1971 Son tus ojos dos estrellas
1973 Caminito de Totana
They also recorded four further albums within the traditional framework, before abandoning it for the experiments with rock, bossa nova, orchestras etc. that resulted in the Flamenco Fusion we know today. These albums are:
1974 Soy Caminante
1975 Arte y Majestad
1976 Rosa María
1977 Castillo de Arena
All of the above adhere strictly to the traditional format, which is to say just voice and guitar, plus the usual rhythmic and other support known as jaleo. Frequently Paco's brother Ramón (a fine player in his own right) is heard on second guitar.
I am not alone in thinking that these albums are some of the finest Flamenco ever recorded; musically, you can't go wrong with any of them.
They are, however short by CD standards. Only "Al verte" is over 40 minutes, and Castillo de Arena is just over 31. But if you're serious about Flamenco, it's still worth getting all of them instead of the various anthologies.
As you can see, this is the third outing, and covers the entire the emotional gamut of Flamenco from the joyous "Son tus ojos dos estrellas" to exercises in misery like "Se murió mi madre". The contents are as follows:
01) Bulerías «Son tus ojos dos estrellas»
02) Malagueñas «La mujer con ser mujer»
03) Soleá de Alcalá «Por mala lengua que tienes»
04) Fandangos «Sin motivos ni razón»
05) Petenera «En la provincia de Cádiz»
06) Minera «De una mina de La Unión»
07) Soleá «El espejo que te miras»
08) Fandangos «Me la tienes controla»
09) Tangos «Al Padre Santo de Roma»
10) Polo «Estoy cumpliendo condena»
11) Seguiriyas «Se murió mi madre»
12) Bulerías «Me voy por la calle abajo»
I also should say that I have an older copy of this album, which does not contain the complete lyrics advertised for this edition, but only the usual information provided on Spanish Philips CDs — i.e. nothing. Therefore, I can't comment on their completeness or accuracy.
*Canastera is in fact so labelled on some copies.