Pete Rodriguez: Pete’s Boogaloo
Herbie Oliveri and the Latin Blues Band: We Belong Together
Bobby Quesada and His Band: Ritmo Moderno
All from Long Live Boogaloo (Secret Stash, 2012)
It’s been a while since there’s been new boogaloo anthology/comp to hit the market and the folks at Secret Stash didn’t half-step in assembling their new Long Live Boogaloo. They got legendary Latin promoter/designer Izzy Sanabria to draw the cover and write the liner notes, adding a personal touch from a boogaloo insider. Moreover, while previous anthologies tended to serve as primers, this one digs deeper into the Latin soul catalog to offer up prime selections that still drift off the beaten path.
For example, Pete Rodriguez, one of the key architects of the boogaloo sound, is represented here but it’s via his slept-on, early effort, “Pete’s Boogaloo” rather than the more obvious “I Like It Like That” or “Oh That’s Nice.”1 Likewise, Ray Barretto gets one song here, but instead of anything off of Acid, they go with “Right On” (strangely mis-titled here as “Pretty Mama”), arguably his funkiest Latin soul cut ever, from 1972’s Power.
I enjoyed seeing Decca represented heavy here. No other non-Latin label did as much to be a part of the boogaloo scene as Decca and that’s largely owed to the presence of Richard Marin, brother of famed Latin soul singer/songwriter/producer Bobby Marin. Richard was absolutely key behind some of the great Decca Latin releases era, represented here by songs like Manny Corchado’s killer instrumental “Chicken and Booze” and Ozzie Torrens’s jazzy “Mia’s Boogaloo.” 2
One of my favorite labels, Speed, gets two tracks on here, including one of their uber-rare, 7″ only releases: Herbie Oliveri and the Latin Blues Band’s “We Belong Together,” and likewise, I was happy to see Bobby Quesada’s oft-overlooked Fania album get a pair of cuts. However, if there’s one unofficial center of the album, it’s undoubtedly Louie Ramirez, the gifted arranger/producer who, along with Bobby Marin, made up the most vital two-man team in Latin soul history. While Ramirez is overtly credited on two of his own songs here, you can find his imprint on far more of the album.
Overall you get 22 tracks, almost all of them of exemplary quality. Great to see that people are still going hard at giving boogaloo shine. To hear other tracks off the comp, visit the Secret Stash website. And don’t forget about Mathew Warren’s upcoming documentary on the boogaloo: We LIke It Like That.
Peep: Secret Stash was generous enough to sponsor a giveaway of Long Live Boogaloo. To enter, answer these following questions:
1) Which Alegre album claims to introduce the “bugalu” as a new dance style?
2) Name the two main co-founders of Speed Records.
3) What important proto-boogaloo song was built around a whistle?
Send your answers here, attn: “long live boogaloo contest”. A winner will be selected at random from those with all three questions answered correctly.
- For my money, “Pete’s Boogaloo” is as good as anything Rodriguez ever did; surprises me it hasn’t gotten more shine. I’m guessing it’s partially because, unlike his later boogaloos, this one is still in Spanish rather than English. ↩
- If I could nitpick, while they also include two songs from Jimmy Zamot’s Decca release, The Latin Soul of Johnny Zamot, that’s probably the most common of Decca’s boogaloo LPs and I wish they had used something off of Zamot’s Boogaloo Frog or Tell It Like It Is, both of which receive less shine. ↩