SUPER SONIDO SWAPS SOME SOUL


Johnny Rivera and the Tequila Brass: Johnny on the Warpath
Boogaloo Que La Traigo
From S/T (Cotique, 1967)

Johnny Rivera and the Tequila Brass: Run, Run, Run
Light My Fire
From Up, Up and Away (Cotique, 1968)

(Editor’s Note: Super Sonido is one of my favorite new blogs to hit the interweb. Excellent, in-depth posts about kick ass Latin music most of you will never hear outside of a plane ticket down south. Me and Sonido Franko decided to swap a pair of posts. Here’s his… -O.W.)


It isn’t any wonder that in late 1990’s I started harvesting a deep appreciation for the Latin boogaloo. I already had a good sized soul, jazz, and Latin jazz collection by then. So a cross-over music like the boogaloo, which fused these similar genres together, drove me to a fascination with hybrid music that pretty much lasts to this day.

By the mid-60’s Latin music in the US was losing its popularity that it had garnered from the mambo era onward. Rock, doo-wop, R & B, and The Beatles had pretty much taken over the Anglo youth market. And what emerged was the very short lived boogaloo craze. One the one hand you can almost look at this genre as a really good marketing ploy. However, this association doesn’t stick all the time. Musically, there are no absolute definitions for the boogaloo, since it was drawing for a myriad assortment of sounds. And it is my belief that it was just the younger Latinos of the time who were carving out something unique in 60’s urban US. Like mambo in the swing era to reggaeton in the hip-hop era. Boogaloo in essence was the music as Latin American identity of its brief epoch.

When I purchased Up, Up, and Away on Ebay in the late 90’s I was surprised to actually get an email from Johnny Rivera himself. We corresponded for a while, but I unfortunately lost his email in one of the many computers I have burned through since then. If I remember correctly his boogaloo days lasted as long as the genre itself. He indicated that he spent the rest of his days as the conductor for the Statue of Liberty Army Band or something like that. Why did Johnny Rivera contact me in the first place? He wanted to know why I would have paid so much for his record. I’ll let the music be the answer to that question.

Sonido Franko

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