Latin Blues Band: I’ll Be a Happy Man
From Take a Trip Pussycat (Speed, 196?). Also on Big Ol’ Bag O’ Boogaloo Vol. 1
Willy Baby: Hot Buns
From 7″ (Ding Dong, 196/7?). Also on Big Ol’ Bag O’ Boogaloo Vol. 2
Bruce Cloud: Soul Mambo
From 7″ (Motif, 196/7?). Also on Big Ol’ Bag O’ Boogaloo Vol. 3
This isn’t letting the cat out of the bag, but volume 2 of the Soul Sides Boxsets series will be boogaloo-themed. That’s probably overdue on my part – I’ve done a few boogaloo-themed posts in the past, including a few podcast-style, but considering that it’s one of those genres that I’ve focused an intense amount of attention on, that interest isn’t necessarily reflected on this site. That’s why I wanted to do a huge post on it for Uber but even then, it won’t cover everything (btw, it should go live in early January).
In the meantime, I wanted to fill people in on a few titles worth checking out, especially this intriguing “Big Ol’ Bag O’ Boogaloo” series that came out earlier this year. Unfortunately, it’s vinyl only which won’t help non-turntabled folks but for any DJ with an inkling of interest in Latin soul/boogaloo, the entire series is highly recommended. I got mine through Dusty Groove but it looks like they’re out right now – but I think Andale has them.
The deal with the BOBOB series is that most of the songs on here do NOT come from the usual suspects, i.e. Tico, Cotique, Alegre or Fania. Instead, they draw mostly on the smaller Speed label, one of those boutique Latin labels that collectors jones for. (The series claims to have titles from Ghetto Records, Joe Bataan’s one-time project, but it’s just one song (by Joe Acosta) so I consider the claim to be a bit suspect. There are, however, many songs not on Speed or the major Latin imprints, but these obscure one-offs (the Cloud 45, for example, is a $500+ piece). The series does repeat artists often – usually milking two songs off a single LP in order to stretch things out but the quality, overall, is very, very good, especially for beginning boogaloo fans.
“I’ll Be a Happy Man” is an interesting cut insofar as the Latin Blues Band uses the identical backing track as two other Latin titles: the Moon People’s “Hippy Skippy Moon Strut” and Dave Cortez’s “Happy Soul With a Hook.” Out of the batch, if you like vocals, this Latin Blues Band is the version you want (if you prefer an instrumental, then the Moon People track is pretty great…it appears on Vol. 1 as well).
“Soul Mambo” is a slick, classic-style boogaloo though, from what I understand, the track is also a hit in Northern Soul circles. Can’t say I know much about Bruce Cloud at all but had this appeared on, say, a Cotique album, I wouldn’t have blinked an eye; it just sounds so “of that era.”
“Hot Buns” by Willy Baby (another artist I know nothing about) is in Spanish, making me wonder if it originated in Puerto Rico though the sound is incredibly New York. The track is very raucous and the prominence of the guitar is unusual and a welcome surprise.
All in all, the entire BOBOB series is nicely assembled; reminds me of those great Latin soul comps that came out on the UK’s Harmless back in the early ’00s (but have gone out of print since). Keep ’em coming….