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

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

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.

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El Gran Combo – Por El Libro (1972) (EGC Records LPS-003)

El Gran Combo – Por El Libro
1972 EGC Records LPS 003

Vinyl rip in 24-bit/96 kHz | FLAC |  Art scans at 300 dpi

El Gran Combo is practically an institution in Puerto Rico, they have been around so long and had so many members over the years.  The group has also served as a launching pad for a number of artists who have gone on to solo careers. This is a pretty solid early-70’s record. Particular highlights are compositions by the prolific Claudio Ferrer, and the gorgeous, moody “Estas Equiviocado” by Osvaldo Farres (of “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas” fame).

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Orchestra Harlow – El Jardinero Del Amor (1976) [FANIA SLP 00499]

Orchestra Harlow – El Jardinero del Amor
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Art at  300 dpi
24 bit 192khz 1.65 GB |24 bit 96 khz – 883 MB | 279MB 16-bit 44.1 khz
Fania Records SLP 00499 | Released 1976 | Salsa / Latin-Jazz

Dr. Vibes 12 Days of Christmas – Day 11 – Led by musical innovator and pioneer Larry Harlow (El Judio Maravilloso), Orchestra Harlow put out a string of top-notch albums for the Fania label.  Larry had led a storied life – he lived in Cuba before the revolution, studying music and anthropology.  He had helped revive the career of Celia Cruz with his “Latin opera” Hommy in the early 70s.  And he was an accomplished santero.  None of this prevented him from being ripped off by Fania – around the time of this album, he realized that they had not been paying what they owed to him, and he sued his own label.  Needless to say they were counting down the days left in his contract to drop him, and did little to promote his records from this period.   Which is a shame because this is pretty much non-stop greatness from start to finish.  Of especial note is the folkloric-themed Cuento Carabali that works as a great grand finale here.

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Angel Canales – El Diferente (1981) (Senelac Records LP8881)


Angel Canales – El Diferente
1982 Senelac Records LP 8881
Salsa / Latin-Jazz / Fusion

Well Brazil has jumped the shark, so I’m going to devote some musical energy to other places for a while.  The U.S. still has a chance of climbing back out of the rabbit hole it’s gone down.  And that is in no small part due to the ever-evolving demographic changes that terrify the White Nationalists so much.  So, here’s an album from the great Ángel Canales, born in Santurce, PR, but raised in New York.  His recording career began on Alegre Records with a record featuring a sexy but somewhat bizarre album cover and a hit in “Lejos De Ti”.  By the 1980s, he was putting out records on his own label, SENALAC.  This one features a blistering-hot band, with amazing baritone sax blowing by Pete Miranda, and charismatic Canales leading the proceedings. While “El Diferente” is still firmly rooted in salsa, bomba, and plena traditions, there is also a fusion edge to the band’s versatility and ability to surprise with their arrangements (done by no less than six different people).  Continue reading