Celia Cruz and Willie Colón – Celia y Willie (1981) (2021 Craft Recordings)

Celia Cruz y Willie Colón – Celia y Willie
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC  & mp3|  300 dpi scans | Latin, Salsa
2021 Craft Recordings CR00375 || RSD, limited to 2000 copies ||
Original release 1981 Vaya

 

The cover may seem to invoke the glory days of the Palladium (or perhaps even the Cotton Club), but the music on this album fits mostly comfortably with any ‘salsa dura’ recorded during the 1970’s peak of that style, albeit with a bit less jamming and more focus on fitting a lot of vocals into 47 minutes.  Continue reading

Tito Puente – The Latin World of Tito Puente (1964, Mono)

Mambos, cha chas, son montunos, pachangas, Latin jazz… Tito Puente played all of those, and he apparently never liked the catch-all term “salsa” (and he stayed out of Fania Records’ orbit, for the most part).  And he has a point – each of the sub-genres and rhythms (and there are many more than those listed here) have their own backstory and sensibility….

Continue reading

Joe Cuba Sextet – Wanted Dead Or Alive (Bang Bang! Push Push Push!) (1966)

Joe Cuba Sextet – Wanted Dead or Alive (Bang! Bang! Push, Push, Push)
1975 Fania/Tico Repress SLP-1146, Mono mix |||  1966 (Original release)

You can’t really talk about the Latin boogaloo without mentioning the song “Bang! Bang!”. The Joe Cuba Sextet had been around the flourishing New York scene for a while by this time, and had a bunch of records under their collective belts, so you can’t exactly call this a ‘breakthrough album.’ But the song – allegedly written on the spot during a live gig – catapulted them to newfound heights of popularity. But it’s definitely not all boogaloo either on this record, and the closing tune here, Cocinando, jams for 9 minutes in what is a prescient template of the genre that would soon become known as “salsa” around the world.  This is just fun music in every way, and a great way to get your summer started if you are in the Northern Hemisphere! Continue reading

Ray Barretto – Barretto Power (1970) (2020 Craft Records)

Ray Barretto – Barretto Power (1970)
Original release, Fania Records
This reissue, 2020 Craft Recordings CR003300

Have I mentioned how fantastic it is that the Fania catalog is finally being curated with the respect and attention to quality and detail that the music deserves?  After decades of crap CD remasterings, brick-walled for iTunes, Concord records has acquired the rights along with the family of labels Fania acquired when they bought out their competition (e.g. Alegre, Tico) and has been contracting the very skilled mastering engineer Kevin Gray of CoHearant Audio to do the honors. Continue reading

Joe Cuba Sextet – Vagabundeando (Hangin’ Out) (1964)


Joe Cuba Sextet – Vagabundeando! (Hangin’ Out)
1964 Tico Records SLP-1112
1990s CD reissue (undated)

The Good Doctor has been busy shaping young minds and maybe some hearts in recent days, toiling away on a class where I hopefully provoke them to think about music in different ways than they had before.  And while there is almost always a soundtrack involved, I have precious little time to share it with you all.  Here is another offering from the Joe Cuba Sextet, pre-boogaloo, containing so many of the elements of what would soon become the global phenomenon known as ‘salsa’.  Personal favorites here include Quinto Sabroso, Nina Nina, and El Raton, this last track a composition from Cheo Feliciano whose vocals grace the album.  Continue reading

Joe Cuba – Steppin’ Out (1963, Mono)

Joe Cuba – Steppin’ Out
 Seeco SCLP 9248
Original release 1963
This pressing, late 60s / early 70s
Style: Pachanga, Mambo, Guaguancó, Cha-Cha, Bolero, Salsa

The back cover of this early Joe Cuba LP includes instructions on how to dance the ‘Wabble Cha’, a dance step I presumed they hoped would take the world by storm. There are two great vocalists on this record – Cheo Feliciano and Jimmy Sabater.  “To Be With You” would become Sabater’s trademark song.

Continue reading