Mortika - Rare vintage recordings from a Greek underworld
ARKO CD 008
|The Mystery||Ioannis "Jack" Halikias|
|I creep along the walls||Giorgos Katsaros|
|Oh Mother, I can't stand it||Spachanis|
|Dou Dou||Andonis "Dalgas"|
|The Dachtiri||Frangiskos Zouridakis|
|The toust||Harilaos Piperakis|
|I wasted my youth||Kostas Roukounas|
|The lifer||Markos Vamvakaris|
|The bochoris||Andonios "Papadzis"|
|This summer||E Kostis|
|The Dervish||Marika Papagika|
|The Hash Smokers||Pol - Meraklis|
|At Tzambikou's Teke||Rita Abadzi|
|Hash Smoking Mortissa||Markos Vamvakaris|
|Heroin and Hashish||Stellakis Perpiniadis|
|The Loser||Ioannis "Jack" Halikias|
|In the Bezesteni yard||Sotiris Gavalas|
|Hash Smoking Chicks||Dimitris Gongos - "Bayianderas"|
|The cab driver's perks||Andonis "Dalgas"|
|Down by the priest's jetty||Nikos Vrachnas|
Mostly, Rebetiko CDs are taken from somewhat worn 78s or LPs, and processed electronically to remove noise. Sometimes too much is removed, and you end up being completely unable to tell what instrument you are listening to.
There is an alternative approach. It consists of finding really good copies of the 78s, playing them on the finest modern equipment available, with the right size stylus, and then remastering them without excessive processing. The result in this case is the sound of the actual 78s with nothing of the music taken away. The quality of these recordings is incredible. You must have this CD, but it is going to make you feel bad about the rest of your collection. This is what Rebetiko should sound like when you play it. I thought the Arheio CDs were very good, but this just made them seem ordinary.
It comes in a fifty page book, packed with information about the music, the artists, the history of Rebetiko, and much more. This is what CDs should have with them. Only a few producers get close to this standard.
As for "rare", it has not one, but two great tracks by Ioannis Halikias, and the only known photograph of him holding a bouzouki. "The Mystery" is just unbelievably beautiful. There are no duff tracks on this one.
As I said, at the time of writing (October 2005) it is a pre-release CD. For information on how to get it, contact email@example.com. Please do get it, and tell your friends about it. Then the guys that made this wonderful CD will go out and get more 78s and make more CDs the same way...
Update November 2009: You can now get Mortika on vinyl if you happen to prefer it to CD.