Been promising this one for a minute. I am, by no means, a deep disco head (that particular well runs incredibly deep) but I do respect/appreciate it. These aren’t my absolute favorite cuts but randomly selected ones that I think do a good job of showcasing the diversity of the genre.
Joe Cuba is an interesting figure to me insofar as his career precedes the boogaloo era by over a decade but songs like “El Pito” and “Bang Bang” are what put him and his Sextet on the map in a way that his earlier mambo-era LPs had not. I don’t own any of his pre-Sextet LPs but I did go completionist with everything he released with that configuration.1 I hadn’t listened to El Alma Del Barrio for quite a while and by no means would I consider it the best of their pre-“El Pito” output (I think Comin’ At You would fit that bill). I was on the verge of tossing this into the Latin purge pile but then I came back to “Mañana Te Llevo Niña” which is a lovely little cha-cha-cha with vibraphone and that, alone, makes it worth holding onto.
In the 1950s, it was Cuba and His Orchestra and in the ’60s and ’70s, he released a handful of albums just as “Joe Cuba.” ↩
There’s something quite enjoyable about finding surprises within your own collection. True, maybe you should have caught them the first time but in the end, you end up with a great new song that you didn’t even need to go track down.
Case in point: I’ve had this Fania All Stars LP for ages but I never realized that Side B had Joe Bataan and La La dueting on the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell classic, “If This World Were Mine.” The cover here isn’t better than the original but it’s still fun as hell to hear Joe singing Marvin.
In my never-ending quest to whittle down my collection, I’ve spent the last few weeks going through my Latin records and I’ve come up with a few dozen solid, great condition titles to list on Discogs.
If anyone you reads this is interested, email me a list of what you want and I’ll try to hit you with at least a 15% discount on everything (this only applies if you email me vs. conventional orders on the site).
Sorry for the long hiatus. After getting back from New Orleans, I got hammered with work and am only now getting back ahead of it. To make up for the prolonged absence, I super-sized this episode with 13 tracks, including songs I brought home from NOLA.
I promised (threatened?) that I’d drop some Latin on you all for a future podcast and what better than to bring in We Like It Like That filmmaker Mathew Ramirez Warren to come in and talk boogaloo with me. We chatted about the inspiration behind the film, tracking down Latin music old-timers, and the importance of public-funded arts (save the NEA!) Then Mathew joined me in running down a playlist of some of our favorite boogaloo jams.
Just uploaded my latest episode of the Record Wheel; thanks for the positive feedback! I’m serious: I don’t do this stuff to hear myself talk so as long as folks out there enjoy it, I’m happy to do it.
I put up a poll on the Facebook group and folks wanted hip-hop, so that’s what I served up.