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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 August 2013
Born in Girona, Spain, Xavier Cugat (1900 - 1990) was a Spanish-American trained musician who spent his formative years in Havana, Cuba and as a violinist and arranger (also a talented cartoonist) was at the cutting edge amongst those who encouraged the popularity of Latin rhythms in the USA. As long-term resident leader of the orchestra at New York's Waldorf-Astoria, Cugat was at the very heart of popular dance music during Latin music's immense popularity and his particular skill with rumba arrangements also lead to his appearance in several Hollywood musicals during the Forties.

Sepia continues its quest to reissue the best stereo orchestral albums with two Sixties-released Cugat collections confirming how well the arranger/conductor had moved from authentic South American numbers to his Latin-beat versions of the popular song catalogue. The first album covers popular continental numbers with MACK THE KNIFE, PETITE FLEUR, NEVER ON SUNDAY and SUCU SUCU heading compositions that became big hits and Cugat ensures their smooth transition to his style enhances their worth to great effect. The second set concentrates on film hits - mainly Hollywood style - MOON RIVER, OVER THE RAINBOW, AROUND THE WORLD etc. but also from Europe - LA DOLCE VITA and AL DI LA. Both albums are examples at how well Cugat could adapt any song with even THE POOR PEOPLE OF PARIS, LOVE IS A MANY SPENDOURED THING and ZIP-A-DEE-DOO-DA making convincing transitions from their original source to exciting shades of Latin.

Filling the remaining disc space are six tracks by Cugat's third wife - the glamorous Abbe Lane - and I found MUSTAPHA quite delightful and her sultry vocals make a welcome contrast against the main orchestral thrust of the album. Needless to say, Sepia's presentation is first-rate and the all-important remastered stereo quite outstanding.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I cannot really add a lot to the excellent review of this beaut of a compilation submitted by Allen Pollock. I have always loved the sound of Xavier Cugat and sought out his later albums. This new release from Sepia offers the sound in stereo and what a glorious spectacular experience it is. Top marks to all at Sepia for transferring the originals to CD and for the fine job done. Pricewise all Sepia CDs are wonderful value. This CD joins many other Sepia titles in my collection. More please...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2013
Two LP's, originally issued by Mercury around 1962. Both very good, but not quite up to par with 'Cugi's cocktails' from 1963, mostly because not all 'hits' necessarily benefit from a latin arrangement. 'Continental hits' was part of Mercury's 'Perfect Presence Sound f:35d'-series, allegedly 3-track recorded on '35mm magnetic film'. The original cover contained detailled information about instrument frequencies, microphone types and stereo pan. Today we just note that the sound is very good, and that Sepia Records has done a fine re-issuing job.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2014
Great background music for when you don't want to stop, just have a happy sound. Makes you want t dance around the house whilst you're otherwise working.
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on 1 November 2013
At last two of Xavier Cugat's LPs from Mercury - Cugat Plays Continental Hits & Most Popular Movie Hits as Styled by Cugat - that have never been on CD before. This Mercury period resulted in Cugat's best recordings ever. Let's hope that Sepia Records will continue to release the rest of the LPs from this Mercury period, there are still a few that have never been on CD in their full versions. The quality of the recordings is superb.
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this makes one go back many years of times gone by - you just wallow in nostalgia for a period that most of us 'oldies' enjoyed listening to this music - pity there isn't more fo Abby Lane - she did record some other songs! Highly ecommended to all Latin American music lovers!
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on 8 March 2015
lively stereo performance from a great orchestra
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on 6 July 2015
Brilliant Cd enjoyed ever second of it
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 2014
Very poorly presented. Age of recordings not advertised on sleeve. No details of when and where recorded. Would not recommend.
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