Kako: Shingaling Shingaling
From Live It Up (Musicor, 1968)

I was privileged enough to work on the liner notes for this album and even though Kako is no longer with us, I did get to speak to many of the folks who worked on the album, most notably Bobby Marin (for whom this album was his first time recording lead vocals), Mike Amadeo, and singer Azuquita. It’s not only one of the better boogaloo albums of the era in terms of the arrangements and production but it was also unusual for being one of the few American-recorded LPs that had mostly Spanish versions. Going with Azuquita was no doubt a reflection of Kako’s friendship with the Panamanian vocalist but it was a calculated risk too since it meant that the album would likely be limited to Spanish-speaking audiences.

Despite that, the album ended up as one of the better boogaloo albums of the era and included a few bonafide hits, especially the Mike Amadeo-penned “Panama’s Boogaloo” as well as “Shingaling, Shingaling” one of the many songs from the prodigious mind of Louie Ramirez, one of my under-sung heroes of the era.

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