Posts filed under Latin Transformations

Latin Transformations 31

The 1970's Begin

Boogaloo and Latin Soul began to fade in 1969 after a strong three year run. The music did not altogether die out, but transformed again into the rhythms and songs forms that are now thought of as Salsa. By the early 1970’s, some bands were calling their repertoire 'tipica', because they wished to emphasize the traditional aspects of Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican dance music. As early as the mid 1960’s, when Johnny Pacheco released a record of songs from the 1940’s and 1950’s, he called it Sabor Tipico.

The first set of this show features bands that were working with new sounds and approaches and while there are traces of Soul and Boogaloo and even jazz, there are also some refashioned, traditional elements as well. Ralph Roig y su Orquesta made one record for the MGM Latino series, Oyelo Sonar; it is on the Salsa side, with fine horns and tres, and touches of psychedelia in the way the vocals are presented on the cut heard here, Suena Tu Bongo. LA-VA-EH was a minor radio hit for Brooklyn Sounds, a youthful group that used the increasingly popular line-up of two trombones, as did Willie Colon.

Orquesta Dee Jay make a return appearance with a track from their second record, which they made with producer Ralph Lew for his very short-lived label, Lewgas. Baritone Saxophonist Jimmy Urbina founded Orquesta Revolucion 70 and the group made three records in the early 1970’s for UA/WS Latino. The track heard here is from the first of the three. Orchestra Colon, led by trumpeter Gus Colon, made several albums for the Rico label beginning in 1970. Using an interesting line-up of three Trumpets and a Trombone, the group had an unusual and aggressive approach to hard latin tunes as well as Pop and Soul. The group’s pianist and arranger, Willie Mullings(sometimes listed as 'Mullins') had a probing, sometimes daring, jazzy approach. They will make at least one further appearance on these shows. The set closer, Libre Soy, borrows the melody of Chitlin’s Con Carne, a Blues-Soul-Jazz number made famous by Kenny Burrell and the tenor player on that recording, Stanley Turrentine. Under Burrell’s guise, the tune is slow and slinky, while Brooklyn Sounds rev it up quite a bit.

LA-VA-EH was the minor radio hit for Brooklyn Sounds, a youthful group that used the increasingly popular line-up of two trombones, as did Willie Colon. The remainder of this set moves even more into Ssoul and R&B influenced territory, especially with the two excellent Pete Terrace tracks. Terrace (real namePedro Gutierrez) had a long and distinguished career as a percussionist-side man with pianist Joe Loco before becoming a band leader and making many albums from the mid 1950’s into the early 1970’s. Both tracks presented here come from the PT album on his own label, Mio, which, depending on what “source” is correct, came out in 1969, or 1970, or 1971. Mio was short lived, but several of the records on it are excellent and have wonderful Latin Soul tracks. It is sad that almost nothing from this label has been well and legally re-issued in any format. Los Nombres were from Hamilton, Ohio, and were mostly a soul-funk group, though the members were all latin. Todos is probably the only latin oriented track the recorded.

The last set features tracks overseen by producer-song writer Bobby Marin. Los Africanos was mostly a studio date for the TR label, though the 45 of the two tracks came out after Tito Rodriguez died in early 1973. The version heard here of It’s Your Thing has a long Electric Piano solo that was edited out of the 45 release. Ocho was a band brought along by Marin; it is unique in that the horn section featured all reeds and no brass. Coco May May had nice Electric Keys and jazzy solos from Tenor and Baritone Sax. The funky Ray Rivera track comes from his 1970 effort on MGM Latino.

Posted on September 10, 2013 and filed under Latin Transformations.