Archive for the 'Salsa' Category

Day 11: Alfredo Linares y su Salsa Star

This appears on Linares’s 1973 Sensacionales! album but I didn’t catch wind of it until I picked it up on 7″ first. I’m a huge fan of Linares’s work and so I was pleased and a bit stunned to realize that, unless I’m totally off-base, this is a cover of Bobby Matos’s “Nadie Baila Como Yo” (from his seminal My Latin Soul album of the mid/late ’60s). Matos isn’t credited (not an unusual happenstance) but certainly, there’s more than enough musical and lyrical evidence to suggest that Linares basically gives Matos’s original a salsa update. It’s still not nearly as deliriously fun as Matos’s song but I do like that Linares keeps elements of the boogaloo-influenced original, especially on rhythm piano.

– O-Dub

1. Alfredo Linares y su Salsa Star: Baila Montuno

Great music from Peruvian pianist Alfredo Linares – I have an earlier album of his and it’s always refreshing to hear South American’s straightforward/raw approach to salsa music. Also, a great big thanks to O-dub from Soul-Sides – not only has he been a regular contributor to the February 45’s sessions, but has been a huge supporter of my site since day 1 it seems. I am forever grateful for that. For all you Latin music loving fans, be sure to check out his latest post about Jimmy Sabater also – Yroco one of my favorites. Thanks Oliver!

Salsa Venezolana

Somewhere between the powerhouse salseros of New York and the exceptionally rich soneros of Colombia, there is Salsa Venezolana. Pretty much considered a national music in Venezuela, with Oscar D’Leon being the country’s biggest export. Although the differences in sound may be subtle to their contemporaries, it is said that the Venezuelan brand of salsa is more rooted in a Cuban son-ryhythm style. The piano intros are good examples of this, to the crooning/falsetto singing of both Carlos “Tabaco” Quintana and Oscar D’Leon.

I think I’ve run out excuses for not updating this site lately – but rest assured I’m taking care of business. Anyway, more music to follow. Please enjoy!

1. Tabaco y su Sexteto: Mi Pueblo

2. Oscar D’Leon: Bravo De Verdad

3. Oscar D’Leon: Tu Son

Day 5: Niko Estrada y su Sonora: Se Traba (MaG)

I originally picked up this single by Peru’s Niko Estrada because I wanted the A-side, a cover of Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe’s big hit, “La Murga.” However, when I flipped it around, I realized that Estrada wasn’t content with just one cover of a New York salsa dura smash, he decided to make it twice as nice by covering “Se Traba.”

“Se Traba” is both the first song and first single from Ray Barretto’s 1972 album, The Message, his first LP that finally leaves behind his Latin soul years and drives hard into salsa, full force. One of the things that strikes you about Barretto’s “Se Traba” is how slick and smooth it is; the production, mixing, mastering, all create a very well-balanced, polished sound.

Part of what I love about Estrada’s version is that, even though it’s obviously the same song (and close to the same arrangement), it sounds grimy as fuck. Not quite “garage band” but you imagine that wherever they taped this, the floor was cracked, there was only a handful of cheap mics and Irving Greenbaum wasn’t at the boards. Start with just the opening piano – on Barretto’s original, it comes lightly dancing in. On Estrada’s cover, it sounds like an excitable pianist, hammering away on a slightly out-of-tune piano. Estrada’s horns are also dirty as hell, adding even more to the lo-fi fury of this version.

Both songs share something else in common – the use of repeated phrasings that, first time I heard the song, made me think “oh snap, this is skipping!”. This is most obvious at 2:30, especially since the repetition feels just oh-so-slightly off-tempo, which makes you quickly run to the turntable and squint your eyes to see if the stylus is jumping back.

I’m not that familiar with Estrada’s other recordings but I hope to god he’s got a whole bank of these – scuffed up covers of NY salsa classics. Bring the motherfucking ruckus.

– O-Dub

1. Niko Estrada y su Sonora: Se Traba

O-dub from Soul-Sides never lets us down – the guy has always showed us love here at Super Sonido.  Thanks a ton for this wonderful post and amazing song!!!

– Franko

Day 1: Fruko y sus Tesos

If there is a single act or person that is most associated with the Disco Fuentes label it would likely be Colombian Julio Ernesto Estrada – aka Fruko. Not only did he perform in the legendary Corraleros De Majagual to the Colombia All Stars, but he would also over-see production of Disco Fuentes’ groups/projects like Afrosound and The Latin Brothers. Known as the “God Father of Colombian Salsa” – it was Fruko, who crossed over from cumbia, who single-handedly introduced the salsa genre to the Colombian masses in the 70’s.

Not only is El Preso (the prisoner) a testament to this genre crossover, but it is an example of a harder form of salsa that would set itself apart from it’s New York and Puerto Rican counterparts. Songs like El Preso are a great example of this difference. From darker lyrics, heavier bass, and to a fondness of minor keys. Even the brass section sounds muted if you compare it to bright/loud wall of trombones that popular Willie Colón was doing at the time. The song itself is a lament to a prisoner who is serving time in jail. Fruko Lp’s are quite common and I recommend any music from him during the 70’s. The 45’s are actually harder to come by and tend to sell for more – the song is a salsa club favorite to this day. Enjoy!

1. Fruko y Sus Tesos: El Preso

Boogaloo Colombiano con Los 5 De Oro

So the lack of posts here at Super Sonido would probably lead one to believe that I am still on vacation. Rest assured I’ve been home for almost a month now, staring at the wall and still thinking about my vacation. December and January have always been the slowest months for me. Those are the months I usually take a vacation, escape, and wallow in some form of weird self-pity/deprecation. To make things up to you folks, to redeem myself in a fit way, I have only 4 words for you:

28 DAYS OF 45!!!

That’s right – starting February 1st I’ll do another round of a 45 a day. But I’m going to need your help this time, so if anyone out there wants a day to post your thing = it’s all yours! Email me at if you need more info/help.

Anyway, some amazing infusion of Latin music from Colombia’s Los 5 De Oro. Not much was to be found about the group, but it appears that pianist Angel Macias had made a name and career for himself outside of his quintet. Nevertheless, this album is outstanding – and it really holds up to the Fania/Tico sound they were trying to capture. The B side was my favorite, which all the songs posted come from – along with a rendition of Jimmy  Sabater’s  “Alafia”  (Colombians can’t seem to put down the accordion). Strongly recommended album from beginning to end. Enjoy!

1. Los 5 De Oro: Cali Boogaloo

2. Los 5 De Oro: Soy Como Soy

3. Los 5 De Oro: Alafia

Moog Montuno con Juancho Vargas

It’s quite common to find compilation records in Latin America that started out as a corporate marketing strategy. I have a few LP’s from a natural gas company in Venezuela – which are pretty good. However, I’m not sure if Goodyear Tires had a successful branding campaign when they dropped this collection. The mixture of salsa, pop, cumbia, and Henri Mancini soundtrack music is just downright weird. Most of the songs aren’t that great and there doesn’t seem to be any method to the triple album’s selections.

However, all this is soon forgotten with the inclusion of just one song: the synth monster Montuniando by Colombian pianist Juancho Vargas. The track reminded me of the music Cuban Juan Pablo Torres was doing in the 70’s than anything else, peep the post I wrote about him a while back. Juancho Vargas is probably better known for his big band style cumbia/jazz and not so much this experimental style of salsa/son montuno. One a side note, the album was produced by the Colombian label Sonolux. There are references to a FM radio station in the Colombian town of Sogamoso and a reference to possibly some tire service chain. Perhaps they handed these out to their customers. Anyway….Enjoy!

1. Juancho Vargas: Montuniando

Tin Marin ala Johnny “Chano” Martinez

Great cover song of Ricardo Ray and Bobby Cruz’s Tin Marin” by Puerto Rican salsero Chano Martinez. There wasn’t much information about him out there, although this track does appear on his LP Salsa Revolution (some guy wanted 600 Euros for the whole record – good luck with that). From the reviews I read about the album, the song I put up is the standout track on the full length. So I reckon you people owe me like 40 to 50 Euros. I kid.

What is known about bass player Johnny “Chano” Martinez, is that he began his musical career in the early 50’s and ended up becoming a staple for the Los Angeles/Southern California salsa scene from the 70’s onwards. “Tin Marin” is like a Latin American made-up word game and/or tongue twister. I think it is pretty universal throughout Latin America, even my cousins from Nicaragua used to say it. Tin, marin de dos pingue, cucara macara, titere fue….or something like that. ¡Báilalo!

1. Johnny “Chano” Martinez: Tin Marin