Most of you have undoubtedly heard about Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez’s new film with director Leon Ichaso (Pinero) about the life of Hector Lavoe ‘El Cantante‘. While I’m not really into anything that the 2 singer/actors have done so far, I think they’ve finally found their calling in this one. You can’t go wrong with a story about a kid moving from little Ponce, Puerto Rico to New York and becoming the one of the greatest Puerto Rican singers of all time. Willie Colon, Yankee Stadium with the Fania All-Stars in front of 50,000 fans…Throw in a huge drug habit (if you look closely you can actually see cocaine residue on his pinky ring), and many more tragedies unfortunately later in his life (I won’t ruin the movie for you), and you’ve got an incredible story.
The best thing about all of this, is that all of his incredible music is now re-surfacing everywhere. Fania has released an incredible 2 Cd comp called La Voz. As well as a hits cd ‘The Originals: El Cantante’. Where every single track is a monster. Check out Aguanile for proof. There is also a nice radio edit of Louie Vega’s remix of Mi Gente. Who else are you going to get to remix that one? (If you didn’t know Hector happens to be Louie Vega’s uncle.) There is a 12″ coming out soon with an extended version and dub version on the flip that works much better on the dancefloor though. Definately cop that one! But until then, here’s the epic 11 minute version and the equally long dub version for all you serato heads…
and last but certainly not least…Sun of Latin Music is in the middle of posting the entire Hector Lavoe discography!!! Make sure you go and get all those Willie Colon records that he’s featured on as well as all of his solo records. Thanks Julien!
it’s officially summer now… and what better song to put into rotation than this one. Un Verano En N.Y. is a classic by El Gran Combo De Puerto Rico, recorded in 1975 just a couple years after they opened for Fania All-Stars at Yankee Stadium in front of 50,000 people. Here is the full length!
Lucumi Macumba Voodoo is one of my favorite covers of all time. With all the Orisha’s represented on her neck, ¿Revolucion, No? has now been officially blessed! As you can imagine the percussion on this one is incredible. Eddie enlisted the best…Dom Um Ramao, Francisco Aguabella, and on trumpets he’s got Chocolate, Faddis, Lew Soloff… this record is as beautiful as the cover!
and again, Mike at Orgy In Rhythm came through with the Justicia! record. This is the lead in record to the Harlem River Drive records, and is the first step into his more socially conscious stage of his career.
also check out the new latin music blog Pepanito. He’s posted Sueno and he’s also got quite a few other nice records, and it seems more to come…looks promising.
Sing Sing Sang! Here it is the classic record Eddie Palmieri did with his Harlem River Drive band recorded live at the Sing Sing Prison in 1972. This record can be summed up by the closing statement…’For man, for all mankind, there should be never no walls, never no fears. Only one thing in life…Liberty in the coming years. The real statement on this record though is…’Jibaro/My Pretty Nigger’ by the great Felipe Luciano. Felipe, served time himself for manslaughter and upon his release, became the an original member of The Last Poets, and a co-founded The Young Lords. (see the P.R. Pride Parade post). The long list of incredible musicians all hold it down and are able to stretch out in this one! (each song is 10 minutes plus) Along with the long list of incredible musicians, brother Charlie also comes in on the organ along with Eddie playing piano. De Nada!
The Sun of Latin Music has the distinction of being the first ever Grammy Award for Latin Recording in 1974. Un Dia Bonita is a epic 14 minute long cinematic classic. As a trumpet player, Victor Paz has always been one of my favorites, and he kills it on this record. Just check out Nunca Contigo, or Nada De Ti. And my favorite to play out is hands down Mi Cumbia. ‘Ay mi cumbia…Colombiana!’
Metrobase has put up a few Eddie Palmieri Records as well…definately worth combing through his archives for some other jems too…after spending a considerable amount of time there, I saw that he had already posted the live at sing sing album, in addition to that though…he posted Champagne, a nice boogaloo/salsa record. Aye Que Rico, and African Twist are boogaloo classics!
also at Metrobase…is the great latin jazz record he did with Cal Tjader ‘El Sonido Nuevo’ (Verve 1966)even though its not as hard hitting as his later stuff it’s still worth a listen…
and again…over at Orgy In Rhythm, he’s got ‘Super Imposition‘ posted. Make sure you go get this one. Its a heavy one… There is also the Tico All-Stars which features Eddie Palmieri, so while you’re there pick that one up too. And, with any luck, maybe he will re-up Eddie’s righteous Justicia. Let’s cross our fingers…
Ray Barretto (who in addition to running his own band was also the musical director of The Fania All-Stars), was the first of the latin musicians to approach the Young Lords and ask them what he could do to help. What came of it was a benefit concert on 110th street…and was the start of an ongoing relationship with them. This is the soundtrack of that movement. There are so many of his records that I could put up…but I decided to go with The Message. This is salsa duro at it’s best. Also check the lyrics on O Elefante with the trumpets mimicing elephants. Incredible!
Barretto Power was recorded in the same year as The Message, and has that same energy…Oye La Noticia!
Oufar Khan posted ‘Tomorrow Live in NY 1976’ a couple months ago.While your there getting this record, check out his archive. He’s got tons of Fela, Funk, Soul, Latin… this man has great taste! if anyone else has any others please let me know, I’ll add a link to it…thanks!
and if that wasn’t enough…A close friend and one of my favorite dj’s, Busquelo put up this great Homange a Ray Barretto that he did with Captain Planet (you bloggers may know him from Captain’s Crate)right after Ray passed away (R.I.P.) Definately go check out his site for that mix plus tons of other damn good mixes by him… and others (Nickodemus, Quantic, Martin Perna of Antibalas and Ocote Soul, and tons more…)
check this article on why this person doesn’t go to the parade anymore. Definately worth a read. The music being played these days exemplifies what Robert ‘Dube’ Colon had to say. Reggaeton is the commercialization of the culture, and what it did to latin music is even more extreme than what new commercial hip hop has done to the golden era of hip hop. Granted we live in a much more capitalistic society, and not all music has to be socially and politically concsious, but…does ALL of it have to be ignorant? Just a thought.
There is this incredible book called We Took The Streets: Fighting for Latino Rights with the Young Lords by Miguel ‘Micky’ Melenez that talks about what the Young Lords did for the community. Also check the documentary… They both talk about the involvement of all the musicians in those times, i.e. all the artist on Fania, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Ruben Blades, Hector Lavoe, etc…and how they would do free concerts to support whatever cause that the Young Lords would be working on. In a lot of cases, people like Ruben Blades and many others would actually be more involved with the protests, community improvements, etc….themselves when they aren’t doing the music. A huge contrast to say the least.
So…in a few hours I will be posting a few records by those people, who not only had something profound to say, but the music itself was incredible. That’s real energy…instead of yelling “con la lengua afuera” over an 808. So keep coming back today because there’s some serious records comin…
The secret is out! Those of you know, realize it was only a matter of time before I posted this one. It was originally released as self titled, but recently re-issued as Llego La Revolucion (based on the first track that is classic and obviously a huge inspiration for this blog). When I first saw this in record stores I immediately bought it for the cover, not knowing what the music would be like. When I got home though, I couldn’t stop listening to the first track, and now play it out every chance I get.
Extra Extra! Revolucion En N.Y. is what we need for this weekend. The Bobbito mix is a good start, and I already gave you Che Che Cole, Pedro Navaja, and Plastico, which are all must plays this weekend, but this is one that not everyone will play out. ‘Soy de Boriquen’ is the obvious choice, but also check ‘Asi Es La Humanidad’. *note….also check the Los Hermanos Latinos singles for the ‘Puerto Rico’ remix. Stay tuned…this is just one of a few posts to come…