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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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