WINDY CITY SALSA

My review of Salsa Boricua De Chicago, the new compilation of Ebirac recordings ran the other day on All Things Considered. I know it’s kind of de riguer (esp. for me) to point out “Numero’s stuff is great!” but seriously, they run the kind of label I’d want to run if I ever had the talent and work ethic to pull it off and this latest comp is no different. In focusing on Ebirac Records, TNG has focused on a slice of American Latin music history that could have very easily been lost to the dustbin of history if not for the slim number of recordings the label released at a time where other Latin imprints had no interest in whatever was cooking up in Chicago.

You can get all those details in the liner notes for the comp however. I wanted to briefly plug a few songs from the Ebirac catalog NOT featured on the anthology. These were part of TNG’s “Box of Boricua” pack of 7″s that they sold last July. For whatever reason, I also got the 4 sealed LPs but haven’t cracked those open yet but I did sift through the 7″s and pulled out these favorite sides:

Hector Del Valle: Homenaje
From 7″ (Ebirac, 197?)

Manuel Y Sus Estrellas: El Duro
From 7″ (Ebirac, 197?)

Under the Sun Orchestra: This Is My Song
From 7″ (Ebirac, 197?)

“Homenaje” caught my ear because it opens – quite clearly – with the melody of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and while it’s not the most explosive of dance tracks out the gate, I do like how it builds (note: this is an unusual, 33.3 speed singlewhich explains how you can put a 5 min+ song on a 7″).

“El Duro” gets the nod for the mambo sabor at the opening – I’m a sucker for Latin songs with vibes.

Lastly, “This Is My Song” is one of the small handful of Latin soul tunes on Ebirac; the comp features an instrumental track from the same orchestra. Good stuff; wish there was more like it but that may have been too much to expect from a mid/late ’70s Latin label.

Don’t forget, Salsa Boricua De Chicago is available now!


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