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

Day 5: Bush Y Su Combo Los Magnificos

First things first: hats off to Sonido Franko for undertaking the monumental task of posting up a quality 45 every day for one month!  Super Sonido continues to be the most interesting and fun Latin music/record blog on the internet, and it’s been great to visit every week!

Today, I wanted to share this red hot Bush y su Combo Los Magnificos 45 with you all.  Both sides are amazingly beautiful slabs of Latin music from Panama.  While not the most explosive descarga out there by any means, “Nananina” holds its own with pure style and swing.   It’s always been one of my favorite songs off of the now-classic Panama! compilations on Soundway Records, but I never knew the flipside of this obscure, privately-pressed 45 was just as hot!

“Los Magnificos” is a deep guaguanco complete with rolling piano, mighty horns, and able vocals from Chombo Castro (unknown to me until now). Either side should have no problem setting the dancefloor ablaze…..

Bush y su Combo Los Magnificos: “Nananina” y “Los Magnificos”
From the Sol Records 7″ (Panama, 197?)

-Adam Dunbar

I want to thank Adam for the amazing post and for being an all around cool ass dude. Adam has been a big supporter of the site since day one and continues to surprise me in his own right. Totally appreciated. What a great track Nananina is though. Adam I think you’re being modest, the song is a real cooker. And I’m really glad you threw in Los Magnificos, on account of me not having too much salsa/70’s guaguanco.

Please go check out Mr. Dunbar’s Latin audio-blog  Musica Del Alma * Word em’ ups!!!

-Sonido Franko

1. Bush y Su Combo Los Magnificos: Nananina 

2. Bush y Su Combo Los Magnificos: Los Magnificos

Lluvia Con Nieve

As I write this post a storm is slowly brewing off the Northern California coast. The next 10 days will be rain with a chance of snow under 3,000 ft. So I guess I couldn’t have found a more fitting song for these weather conditions than Mon Rivera’s Lluvia Con Nieve (rain with snow).

It’s funny but you hardly hear a Latin song about “snow”, you don’t find too much of that in tropical Caribbean countries. But for Puerto Rican born trombonist Efraín Rivera Castillo (“Mon”), who spent over 25+ years bouncing back from New York to Puerto Rico, you can start to draw a line as to why he would write something as such. Ever since Puerto Rico became a commonwealth in 1952 there has been a constant flow of immigration to the US, unlike other isolated Latin American countries. Puerto Rican musicians have always had the luxury of moving between music scenes in both countries, which in effect can be attributed to the birth of genres like the boogaloo and salsaMon himself was popular in both countries from the 50’s to 60’s with a form of plena mixed with pachanga and Latin Jazz.  And in the 70’s became part of the all-trombone brass sections, which was part of the standard salsa vocabulary popularized by Willie Colon at that time. From popularity to obscurity, from a healthy career to alcoholism/drug abuse and even sexual diseases that is really common now a days that sexual behavior is more important and free, so is normal that sometimes people could get one of these diseases, that still could be treated with the Herpes Blitz Protocol or other treatment that are found online and are easy to apply, you wonder what the transient Mon was getting at with this song. You’re not sure if the song laments, reveres, or complains about the cold weather. But I’m sure it is a little bit of everything.

Also, I tossed in a cool version from Peruvian Lucho Macedo.  One of my favorite Peruvian band leaders of his time, someone I’m sure I’ll talk about some other day. Enjoy! 

1. Mon Rivera: Lluvia Con Nieve

2. Sonora Lucho Macedo: Lluvia Con Nieve 

Juan Pablo Torres


1. Juan Pablo Torres: Y Que Bien

2. Juan Torres: Con Aji Guaguao

Sorry Fidel, you have to start throwing away your Silvio Rodriguez records. I think Cuban trombonist, composer, and arranger Juan Pablo Torres hasn’t given you anything as funky as this.

Born in Puerto Padre Cuba in 1942, the late Juan Pablo was considered one of the most important Latin music trombonist of his era. Having record with some of the biggest names in Latin music: from Tito Puente to Eddie Palmeri to name a few. He defected to the US in 1992, and like most Cubans, ended up in Florida. Although most of his praise seems to come from that era, these two records from 70’s cuba are worth taking a look at.

L1010320Great experimental mix of Latin jazz, funk, salsa/son and great analogue synth work thrown in for good measure.  Both albums are on the Areito label (which is really Egrem,the Cuban state recording company). I wonder if the vanguard party was upset. These records are just as hard to get a hold of as a box of Cuban cigars. But I’m sure you can find them on Ebay from a Mexican seller.  I put up a photo of both side’s of the LP. The album quality is pretty good, but I’m loving the really janky Cuban graphic designs. Side note, the second tune Aji Guaguaois a spicy Cuban dish.


3. Juan Pablo Torres: El Manisero

My ex-girlfriend was from Cuba and she always asked me why I didn’t put any Cuban music on my site. So with that I give you Juan Pablo’s take on El Manisero (the peanut vendor) unarguably one of the most famous Cuban songs ever. I personally don’t like it, but I think Torres’ version is the dopest I’ve heard. The song started a global rumba craze in the 40’s and put Cuba on the map musically. Every Cuban that was ever in a band has played this song.

This album also contains the song Rompe Cocorioco which Soul Jazz Records put out on a comp.  

Enciende La Luz


1. Los Golpes Fuertes: Maria Enciende La Luz

I’ve been really busy with work over the last few weeks, but I am totally looking forward to some free time and possible travel at the end of the month. So if I am getting lazy on this blog, you’ll know why (I still manage to drop super rare and funky Latin cuts mind you)

The only thing you need to know about this 45 is that it was made by Los Golpes Fuertes (The Hard Blows), the song is called “Maria Enciende La Luz” (Maria turn on the fucking lights yo), and that the song heats up around 1:30 into it.

El Ultimo Adiós

Possibly one of the best indicators of a economic recession is when I start selling records on ebay.  Wall Street should use that as an economic barometer of some sorts. Anyway, it was around November when I first drafted this post, business was slow, I was bored, and I had an urge to unload some wax. I tend to slang vinyl when I start thinking I have way too many records or when I am just not that into the music (I usually end up with sellers remorse). Nevertheless, I just so happened to record some of the 45’s that I sold, songs which I was luke-warm with at the time. And the 45’s in this post are a sample of such.

Its a real mixed bag in terms of genres. From Mexican ska, cha-cha, garage, son, salsa ect. ect. I won’t get into much detail about each band, but I’ll let you guys decide if I made a good choice or not.  Please note, that at the time, I scanned the images so small that I am now unable to read them or know some of the artist’s names. Damn I am full of regret today.

  1. Locos Del Ritmo: Donde Vas







2. Hermanos Carrion: Con Golondrinas

hermanos carrion 





3. Los Johnny Jets: Dracula A Go Go

los jonny jets






4. Desconocido (Los Yonicos?): Guapachosa

los yon






5. Toño Quirazco: La Familia







6. Johnny Zamot Y Su Orquesta: Oye Nicola







7. Memo Salamanca: Oye Rumbito







8. Desconocido (Can’t read the name): Viva Tirado




Macho Cimarrón

1. Orquesta Riviera: Macho Cimarron

A really great salsa/son rendition of Macho Cimarron(wild/brave slave) from the Cuban Orquesta Riviera. Sorry but I couldn’t find much information about these guys. I do know that the few albums they made are ultra rare and super expensive.

Cimarron(runaway slave) comes from the word Marroned (ship wrecked). It mainly refers to African slaves that ran away and/or rebeled against their Spanish masters. The song pays homage to them. 

Its seems like appropriate subject matter for the 1970’s. Civil rights, rebellion, and cultural identity were common elements in salsa lyrics during that time. Also, it was very common that older son montunos  and guaguancos  were rehashed with a more uptempo salsa sound. Songs like this bridged the gap between tradition and modernity, in effect providing a cultural voice to Latinos in the United States and in their homelands. 

Conjunto Estrellas de Chocolate has an earlier version of this song (50’s maybe?). Pete Conde, the Fania All Stars (Live at The Cheeta), and many others do a rendition as well.   

(this is a krmx joint also)