Willie Colon – Asalto Navideño Vol. II (1973) (50th Anniversary Fania – Craft 2023)

Willie Colon with Hector Lavoe & Yomo Toro – Asalto Navideño Vol.II
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC |  Art scans | Folk, Holiday, Salsa
2023 Craft Recordings || Orig.rel. 1973 Fania

I wanted to get this post up before the holiday season passed, and I just *barely* made it — Jan. 6 is the end of the Xmas season in Latin America, with the holiday of Three Kings Day / Feast of the Epiphany closing things out.  If you don’t know Willie Colon and the late, great Hector Lavoe, this may not be the place to start. Not because it isn’t good, but it’s not typical of the lean, street-wise salsa sound they helped craft in the formative period of the genre during the late 60s through the 70s.

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Johnny Pacheco – Pacheco At The NYC World’s Fair (1964 Fania)

Johnny Pacheco – Pacheco At The N.Y. World’s Fair
Vinyl rip in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC |  300 dpi  | Latin, Salsa
1964 Fania LP-326 || Mono gold label

Because everything sucks right now except my record collection.  Nothing provocative, depressing, nor spooky (this being Halloween and all) but rather uplifting and invigorating. This is great early work from Maestro Pacheco, released within the first year of Fania Records’ life as a company that would cast a long shadow in the decades to come.  It features a lead vocal (on most tracks) from Pete Rodriguez before his breakout hit “I Like It Like That”. A couple of tracks feature the Cuban singer Ramon ‘Monguito’ Sardiñas in that role.  The rest of the personnel is not noted anywhere I can find, feel free to leave a comment if you happen to know who played on this.

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La Sonora Matancera – Super 100 Éxitos (2008)

La Sonora Matancera
Super 100 Exitos
Warner / Rhino / Peerless MCM 2851359
Made in Mexico

Super 100 Éxitos, or is it 100 Super Éxitos? This is a 5-CD boxset with 100 tracks and no  notes or booklet.  Which is a shame because La Sonora Matancera is an institution whose inheritance the whole world has gained something from, arguably the “mothership” from whence all salsa music derives.  As has been stated here before, “salsa” is a catch-all, umbrella term anyway encompassing a bunch of different styles, like guaguancó and son montuno – both well represented here – but also bolero and many others, and there are even a few cumbias scattered around this collection.  The collection features Celia Cruz, Bienvenido Granda, and probably Daniel Santos, Nelson Piñedo and other stars of this storied group.  If anybody out there stumbles on a more thorough breakdown of the provenance of the songs on this collection — or, gods forbid, feels like making one of their own “from scratch” — please share you knowledge in the comments section!


#01 – La Esquina del Movimiento
#02 – La Isla del Encanto
#03 – Micaela
#04 – Quémame Los Ojos
#05 – En El Cachumbambé
#06 – Yo No Soy Guapo
#07 – Rio Manzanares
#08 – El Negrito del Batey
#09 – Pa’ La Paloma
#10 – El Mambito
#11 – Tu Significas Todo
#12 – El Sofá
#13 – Delirio
#14 – Piel Canela
#15 – Besito de Coco
#16 – Bajo La Luna
#17 – Mis Noches Sin Ti
#18 – Descarga Sonora
#19 – La Mamá y La Hija
#20 – Ritmo Cubano

CD 2

#01 – Asombro
#02 – Cualquiera Resbala y Cae
#03 – Hoy Sé Mas
#04 – Lagrimas de Hombre
#05 – Palmeras Tropicales
#06 – Máquino Landera
#07 – Se Formó El Rumbón
#08 – Linda Caleñita
#09 – El Mambo Es Universal
#10 – Ven Bernabe
#11 – Las Muchachas
#12 – Cumbia de Buenaventura
#13 – Florecilla de Amor
#14 – Amor Fenecido
#15 – Madre Rumba
#16 – Tu Rica Boca
#17 – Historia de Un Amor
#18 – Cancaneito Can
#19 – No Te Miento
#20 – Enamorado

CD 3

#01 – Cañonazo
#02 – Ritmo Tambó y Flores
#03 – Total
#04 – Ave Maria Lola
#05 – Angustia
#06 – Déjame Que Te Arrulle
#07 – El Diecinueve
#08 – Me Voy Pa’La Habana
#09 – El Preso
#10 – Linstead Market
#11 – Rareza del Siglo
#12 – Ya Se Peinó Maria
#13 – Óyeme Mamá
#14 – Tomando Té
#15 – Oye Mima
#16 – Así Son Los Quereres
#17 – La Pachanga
#18 – Burundanga
#19 – El Vaiven Arrullador
#20 – Mi Barquito Marinero

CD 4

#01 – Ay Cosita Linda
#02 – Rock And Roll
#03 – Una Docena de Besos
#04 – El Corneta
#05 – El Ermitaño
#06 – Quero Emborracharme
#07 – Tristeza Marina
#08 – El Yerbero Moderno
#09 – Humo
#10 – Nocturnando
#11 – Los Aretes de La Luna
#12 – Por Dos Caminos
#13 – Yo Vivo Mi Vida
#14 – Cha Cha Cha de Los Feos
#15 – Ignoro Tu Existencia
#16 – La Sopa En Botella
#17 – Que Dichoso Es
#18 – De Ti Enamorado
#19 – Ojos Malos
#20 – Juancito Trucupey

CD 5

#01 – Eso Se Hincha
#02 – El Muñeco de La Ciudad
#03 – Amnistia
#04 – El Solterito
#05 – En El Bajio
#06 – Sin Pensar En Ti
#07 – Margarita
#08 – Te Miro a tTi
#09 – Guaguanco No 3
#10 – Vendaval Sin Rumbo
#11 – Hoy Lo Niegas
#12 – La Pitita
#13 – Tu Voz
#14 – Apambichao
#15 – Dos Almas
#16 – En La Orilla del Mar
#17 – Malvado Proceder
#18 – Luces de Nueva York
#19 – El Vaquero
#20 – Ritmo de Mi Cuba


Mirror 1 (Mega)

Mirror 2 (Filefactory)

FLAC and mp3 320 in multiple parts that can be distinguished by the filenaming.

p/w:  vibes

Willie Colón & Rubén Blades – Siembra (1978) (2021 Craft) Day 12 of 12 of FV’s 12 Days of Xmas


Willie Colón & Rubén Blades – Siembra
1978 Fania Records (original)
2021 Craft Recordings / Concord (reissue)

If you are only going to have one salsa album in your collection, you could do much worse than a copy of Siembra.  For fans of the music, I’ve heard many stories about the opening track, Plástico, that are typically along the lines of “I remember when I first heard that song and it blew my mind.  Singer and lyricist Rubén Blades had only broken out of working in Fania’s mail room a few years prior — his first recording, if I’m not mistaken, was on Ray Barretto’s 1975 album, Barretto.  And he seemed determined to do what activist Felipe Luciano, then of the Young Lords,was entreating young salsa musicians to do in this cool documentary of the period: create music that moved away from commercialism (and by the late 70’s Fania had perfect a “formula” for hit records, and was sticking to it…) and instead spoke to the lived experience of the struggling communities who embraced the music, both in New York and throughout Latin America.

So don’t be taken aback by the opening bars of disco that great your ears in the opening bars of Plástico: it’s not an experiment in musical hyrbids (which, if you frequent this blog, you know I’ll defend ’till the end of time), since it doesn’t recur anywhere else throughout the albums 43 minutes.  Instead it is a musical meta-commentary on the lyrics about materialism and conformity, lyrics which conclude with a hopeful and exultant call to resist the crushing sameness. And the best news is:the rest of the album is equally good as this opening cut.

On this last day of this 12 Days of Christmas series, I’m trying to do my small part to take back January 6 for what it has traditionally been throughout Latin America (and not just the Spanish-speaking parts of it) — Three Kings’ Day – instead of the shitshow that date currently symbolizes in the U.S.

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The Alegre All-Stars – The Alegre All-Stars (1961)

The Alegre All Stars – s/t
Vinyl transfer in 24-bit/192 kHz | FLAC |  300 dpi scans | Latin, Descarga, Salsa
1961 Alegre Records LPA-810 || Repress, 1960s/70s || Mono

This is the first of several albums made by The Alegre All Stars and the only one with Johnny Pacheco on flute, who  left the label to form Fania soon after.  It features Charlie Palmieri on piano and Barry Rogers on trombone.  It a big way, it set the template for one component of what would become known as “salsa”: in particular, the loose jamming that would become a trademark of the Fania All-Stars live performances (at least through the mid-1970s). The vocalists are no slouches either: Dioris Valladares, Yayo “El Indio” Paquero, and Rudy Calzado were all well-known in their day and deserve more renown.  The album features lots of studio banter and even the sound of drinks being poured: the informal atmosphere was deliberate, with aim to capturing the kind of vibe that Israel ‘Cahcao’ Lopez had on his famous Cuban “descarga” sessions. Continue reading