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Chubby Checker – Twistin’ Round The World (1963)

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Chubby Checker – Twistin’ Round The World (1963)

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1. Twistin’ Round The World (in French) 2:38			play
2. La Paloma Twist (in Spanish) 2:13
3. Hava Nagila (in Hebrew) 2:06
4. Twist mit mir (in German) 2:43
5. Never On Sunday (in Greek) 3:06
6. Twist Marie (in Italian) 2:14
7. Let’s Twist Again (in German) 2:20					play
8. Twistin’ Matilda (in English) 2:38
9. O Sole Mio (in Italian) 2:42
10. Tea For Two (in English) 2:15
11. Alouette (in French) 2:01
12. Misirlou (in Spanish) 2:45

 

Having Chubby Checker sing variations on "The Twist" theme in different languages was a brilliant marketing move when ABBA's multi-lingual success is observed in retrospect, and while Madonna and Barry Manilow might have made bigger splashes with "La Isla Bonita" and "En el Copa" respectively, none of them got this adventurous. Sure, it looks like Cameo-Parkway kept their big hit singer typecast, but Checker, aka Ernest Evans, racked up 23 hits from 1959-1988, and despite this appearing to be all marketing, it works years later as a charming combination of performances by an underrated artist. "Tea for Two" is great adult contemporary and shows what a smooth and appealing voice this singer owns. "Alouette," for "all you twisters," is a stretch, and it is in English and French, but in some strange way it works too.

Chubby Checker in performance is an amazing act, and the production by songwriter Kal Mann with Dave Appell is solid as a rock. Covering the favorite melody of Elvis Presley, "O Sole Mio," which "the King" turned into "It's Now or Never," is also engaging, with its half Italian/half English, unlike the Beatles when they did full translations of their originals from English to German. "Twistin' Round the World," the title track, throws a little nod to the Beach Boys with a "twistin' U.S.A." line thrown in for good measure, but it's half English, half French. The pronunciation might've started to wear on Checker, as his French sounds like it's flavored with German inflections. "Let's Twist (A La Paloma)" has enough Anglo-Saxon to keep the U.S. audience happy; it's half Spanish with musical flavors from south of the border. This is quite a fun record from Chubby Checker. His version of "Hava Nagela" sounds pretty authentic, but he veers off of the Hebrew here, too, to sing some lines familiar to people only familiar with the language of his hits, English. Maybe mixing two languages isn't a bad thing -- it's certainly innovative and isn't as much a jolt to Checker's fan base as, say, Captain & Tenille's Love Will Keep Us Together album, recorded entirely in Spanish, was to theirs. As for the performance on disc, as usual, Chubby Checker delivers. --- Joe Viglione, allmusic.com

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 19 December 2017 22:01)

 

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