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From Acapulco to Tokyo - the best of  - The Gimmicks (Compilation) - 1969-1976
Label: Sonet 537435-2 (Sweden)
Format: CD
From: Sweden
My rating: 6/10

Entered: 08/30/2002
Last updated: 09/05/2002

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The Gimmicks are a strange group to me. A casual listener would probably dismiss them as simply an inferior Brasil'66- style vocal group. Indeed, the first track on this compilation is a version of 'Mas Que Nada'. But in fact, their overall sound is quite different, with a spooky kind of feel and some interesting choices of material.

The Brazilian-style tracks are all fun; the joker (ok, it's not Brazilian, but Brasil '66 did sing it) and Ching Ching, Hej Hej (Tim Dom Dom), sung in Swedish, are particularly entertaining. There's also a version of Joao Donato's 'The Frog' (the liner notes say it's traditional, but I'm pretty sure it's Donato, right? I find that lazy liner notes writers often have a tendency to describe songs written in the 1960s as 'traditional'), Toquinho's 'Que Maravilla', 'Ye Me Le' (another Brasil '66 echo), Jobim's 'O Morro Nao Tem Vez' (here called 'Somewhere in the hills'), and Jorge Ben's 'Pais Tropical'.

Even on the more upbeat tracks, there's a strange, echoey, melancholy feel, particularly on 'Waitin' shiv'rin' at the bus stop', 'ye-me-le,' and 'homeless'.

There are lots of songs here that I assume are popular hits of the 70s, but which I don't really know. 'Stone Slipper Cindy' has a slightly schmaltzy 70s radio feel to it, but ends up being extremely catchy, with some great vocals in the chorus.

There are also some famous (perhaps too famous) cover versions - 'It's too late', 'slippin into darkness' and 'you are the sunshine of my life' (sung in Swedish). It's here that the disc really comes unstuck - prety much all the recordings from after 1971 become too much for my taste - very smooth and jazzy in a way that I find a little painful.

My only real beef with this disc is that it omits their version of 'California Soul', which is quite brilliant. It makes me worry that there are other great tracks missing. Still, it's a nice introduction to the group, and if you buy it direct from a swedish store, it's pretty cheap.

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