IN THE JUNGLE, BABE

My latest KCET piece is on the new spate of record stores that have opened in L.A. over the last few years, many of which are out in my neck of the woods on the eastside. Of the batch, my favorite has been the Record Jungle, Andy Perez’s spot out in Montebello. As I suggest in the piece, it’s got an old mom-and-pop feel to it but Andy knows his soul, funk and Latin records on par with the best, upper-end boutiques. His is like the best of all worlds and over the last year or so, I can always depend on the store for both stuff to strike off my want list as well as the weird and unusual. Here’s a sampling of what I mean:

Orquesta Casino: El Boogie De Bertha
From S/T (Dicesa, 197?)

The first time I ever visited the store, Andy hit me off with this album: a disco-era LP that included a Spanish-language cover of Jimmy Castor’s “Bertha Butt Boogie.” That’s when I knew I had found the right store.

Eddie Encinas: Guantanamo Mambo
Mambo Oriental
From Presenta a sus Latino Moderno (Discos Corona, 196?)

Discos Corona was a local, L.A. label (itself an off-shoot of Crown/Modern) dedicated to West Coast Latin bands. In that regard, they were relatively unusual for a genre mostly based out of the New York (and to a lesser extent, Florida) area. There’s somewhere around 6 dozen Discos Corona titles and much of it isn’t that remarkable but Eddie Encinas and his band had at least two strong Latin dance titles, especially this one which features a pair of awesome, vibe-filled mambos. Despite the label’s local roots, Discos Corona titles aren’t that easy to turn up here and I had been looking for either of Encinas’s LPs for a minute. Andy knew that and made a point to hold a copy for me. Now that’s service!

Wayne and Marin Foster: Same Kinda Thing
Satisfaction
From To-Get-It Together (Happynest, 197?)

Now we’re back to unusual. Best as I can tell, this was a private press, vanity album by a pair of San Diego-based private/wedding band outfit. They’re still around. “Same Kinda Thing” is a Foster original and while the singing is a poor man’s lounge singer, it does have a surprisingly funky arrangement to go with it. Then there’s the big band take on the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction.” This won’t make anyone forget Jagger but once again, it hits has fine instrumentation moments, especialy around the 3.5 min mark. As a bonus, we have a special note from their singing coach in the liners, where he shares that “I have never been more proud of any student than I am of Wayne and Marin.” So much positive energy!

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