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Alfredo Linares: El Pito
From El Pito (Adria, 1960s). (First two songs also on ¡Gózalo! Vol. 1. “Descarga” on ¡Gózalo! Vol. 4.

Lat-Teens: Lat-Teens
African Twist
Now You Know
From S/T (Cotique, 1968)

In the last couple of months, I’ve finally been able to knock down two key Latin white whales. As proper white whales should be, both have proved extremely elusive for a few years and to make matters worse, I’m constantly teased by other, similar titles by each artist which happen to show up far more often than the albums I actually want. For examples, Linares’s other major boogaloo LP turns up for sale at least once every 4-6 weeks but El Pito may only pop up on the record radar a few times a year. I finally gave in and “settled” for the U.S. issue vs. the original MAG release (yeah, I know, hair-splitting). But glad to finally have this in the bag – I’m such a fan of Linares’s explosive piano style and to hear him going in on his cover of “El Pito” is awesome, as is the aptly-named Latin jazz tune, “Cool.” Too bad “Descarga” couldn’t get a better name but hey, still a great, lively example of the style.

The Lat-Teens was especially sweet to finally land; it’s not quite as obscure as the Linares but you see other Lat-Teens titles go up all the time and this one – their first – shows up much less frequently. I’d have to think more about this but this may very well be the best boogaloo title on Cotique – it’s at least as good as anything I’ve heard by the Lebron Brothers, including Psychedelic Goes Latin, which is very similar in style. The Lat-Teens’ self-titled title cut is especially delicious, a slow-building burner with a beauty of an opening piano montuno. It’s probably my favorite song off the album, even more than “African Twist” which was their main boogaloo hit. I also included “Now You Know” because I’m really fascinated by all the weed anthems that these Latin soul bands turned out (the Lat-Teens have another song on the album called “Mary Wanna.” Not exactly subtle).