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49 Essential Bert Kaempfert Classics

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Album Review

There are a number of Bert Kaempfert "best-of" albums out there — and lo, here's another, one that bears little resemblance to the others in content and deed. It was probably assembled sometime around 1970 and released as a two-LP set, but apparently not by American Decca or German Polydor (Mobile Fidelity somehow leased it from CBS Special Products). While the CD includes a few of Kaempfert's best-known recordings — two versions of "Strangers in the Night," "L-O-V-E," "Red Roses for a Blue Lady," and "Bye Bye Blues" — and a few cracking good ones that aren't — like Duke Ellington's "I'm Beginning to See the Light" — the album leaves out a ton of obvious choices, not to mention much of Kaempfert's best, most characteristic material. Rather, a good deal of the disc is weighted toward cover versions of standards like "Star Dust," "Over the Rainbow," and "Laura," or swing-era standbys like "Moonlight Serenade" and "Opus One," whose routine gestures are not nearly among the pick of Kaempfert's catalog. Two compensating factors are the excellent, clear Mobile Fidelity sound and generous playing time — about 70 minutes. For a number of years in the 1990s, this was the only Kaempfert available on CD, but it has since been superseded by two-fer reissues and expanded versions of the original Decca albums. Or if you double back to the LP era, either the Decca Best Of or Greatest Hits albums deliver peppier, more representative tastes of Bert Kaempfert. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi


Born: 16 October 1923 in Hamburg, Germany

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Bert Kaempfert had almost too much talent, ability, and good luck rolled into one career to be fully appreciated, even by his own chosen audience, the lovers of fine orchestral pop music. He was one of the most successful conductors, arrangers, and recording artists in the latter field, but was also a major producer and played a key (if indirect) role in the roots of the British beat boom of the early '60s, which evolved into the British Invasion of America in 1964. Berthold Kaempfert was born in...
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49 Essential Bert Kaempfert Classics, Bert Kaempfert
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