LOST SPANISH TREASURES (SINGLES)
Was sifting through my digital collections and look who I’ve found! Do you remember Roberto Roena? You should! Because he was one of the biggest in Latin music of the 70s at the time. Well, I must admit, I’m exposed to so much culture that even I can’t always remember names a lot of the time. However, I know we all have got to remember his signature song “Coro Miyare.” YO!!! Guys, this song will force you to dance! You put this on your turntable, and the music would literally take over your legs and make you dance! By the time the record finishes, you’d see puddles of sweat dripping all over the floor. I’ve seen it so many times; if a guy could not keep up with this song, nobody would dance with you. Long story short, Roberto started off with a group called El Gran Gombo; busted out some hits and then joined a band called “El Apollo Sound,” busted out a few hits with them; then eventually moved on to join the group “Fania All Stars.” It was with this group he recorded his iconic song “Coro Miyare,” under the Fania Record label in 1971.
Wow!! Now this is the blast from the past!! How many of you remember Malo? I bet a lot of you don’t. Listening to Malo’s music was a lot like listening to Santana. Actually, why wouldn’t they remind us of Santana? Jorge Santana (brother of the legendary Carlos Santana), co produced the group, with a guy named Arcelio Garcia. So much of Malo’s musical accent sounded almost identical to Santanas (as if to say, this formula works, let’s stick with it). They were signed to Warner Brothers Records, and in 1972, they released their first record titled “Malo.” On this album was their first and only big hit of their career called “Suavecito.” The song had beautiful vocal harmonies, infused with Latin jazz, gave them the sound of a high-class band, that you can only see perform in a ballroom setting. The song hit #8 on the U.S. Billboard Charts, and the album itself peaked at #10 on the R&B Charts. Back from that, this was it in terms of their career. They’ve made several albums after this, but none had the success of “Suavecito.” On this particular album, Warner Bro. had put together their best songs. Some of them are worth listening to. I recommend listening to “Chevere,” you can really hear the distinct “Santana sound” in this piece. And oh yeah, I also like “Oye Mama” too. That’s a great song to dance too. By the way, I think it’s kind of ironic that, they’ve only had one hit, and their band name is Malo. Maybe they should have changed their name? 😀
This was and still is one of my favorite albums from the seventies. If there’s ever a disco album you should listen to, this would be one of them!! When the original album cover came out in 1976, it was one of those fold-out albums (single vinyl tho). The lady above only had that black Salsoul t-shirt on, and absolutely no pants. The t-shirt covered most of her butt 😂 . Now, as an adult, if I saw this album for the first time, I would have easily got the wrong impression that the album had filthy lyrics, or lyrics that send the wrong message about women. Actually, the photo alone would make me look the other way, you guys know I ain’t in to that 😂 . However, let me tell you, as I said before, this turned out to be my most favorite album growing up. One of my favorites, and one of the most popular songs called “Nice ‘N’ Naasty,” actually isn’t “naasty” at all, as the name suggests. However, the beat and the lyrics allowed you to use your imagination without being “pornographic,” or gross. The song was tasteful, and nicely done. Then again, it was a different era we were in. The song peaked @ #30, and stayed on the charts for 14 weeks.
There are tons more favorites of mine from this album like “Ritzy Mambo,” and “It’s Good For The Soul.” Salsoul Orchestra was a House Band for Salsoul Records. Very much in the same way MFSB was to Philadelphia International Records. In fact, most of the original musicians from MFSB worked for Salsoul Orchestra,” so the band was pretty mixed in nationality. You could just imagine what a close-knit family they were. Although Salsoul Orchestra did mostly Latin disco, they’ve also done soul and pop music. They’ve diversely worked with many other artists you may remember, such as Jocelyn Brown, and Loleatta Holloway. Salsoul Orchestra sadly broke-up some time in 1982. Such a shame, they’ve made some awesome music during their existence.
Freddy Fender was an American Tejano, which basically means a descendant of a Mexican family (or Spanish speaking people) who migrated to Texas. Therefor, much if not all of his music is basically “country Spanish music (for a lack of a better word).” About 42 Years ago, Freddy released an album called “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” in 1975; the song from that album “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” became an instant major cult classic. Although the song only peaked @ #20, According to the American Billboard, it stayed on the charts for a whopping 43. weeks. However, on the country music charts, the song peaked at #1. This gave Freddy somewhat of an immortal status. This song was so popular, there was a time when you could scan all the entire FM band, and you’d find at least 3 stations playing the song almost at the same time. Quite frankly, once I got older, I realized this song confused quite a bit. Why? The song in it’s entirety sounds like he was saying he wasn’t good enough for her, and he’ll just let some other dude have the girl he loves without putting up much of a fight.Then again, maybe this is a song when the woman was already dating someone else? The world at the time saw this as one of the most beautiful love songs ever recorded. Freddy and his cult classic has indeed been mostly forgotten. This was the biggest song of his entire career.
You know, I haven’t listened to Celia Cruz’s music in a really long time. But one things for sure, when I put on a sing such as “Quimbara,” I always wind up rewinding about 3-4 times. The song was released in 1974, and peaked in the U.S. at number #15. I can’t seem to find a record as to how long it’s been on the top 100/200. This is indeed my ultimate favorite from her. You can’t help but to dance to this song, and if you don’t, you either have no rhythm, or you’re just boring. This song almost appears to take over your body by the middle of the song. Absolutely no one else was able to sing this song like Celia Cruz. It’s like the song was just made for her and her alone. The only other version I somewhat like, is one that was done by an old school group called “DLG.” Do you remember DLG? Or “Dark Latin Groove?” It’s called “Magdalena, mi amor,” I know it’s not Celia’s Quimbara, but there’s enough essence of Celia’s song that makes it just as good. I just wish’d that lead singer Huey Dunbar didn’t sound like he was straining his voice so much. Yes, Celia was a legend… Do you guys know why I love her so much? She was a TRUE artist, in that She’d sing ANYTHING! She was truly versatile. I’ve heard her sing Cuban music, marengue, bachata, & disco. I’ve even heard her sing in English. Although her English was not that good, she did it because that’s how much she loved music, this was how music influenced her as a child. She also have done many duets with people you would least suspect. Like the duet with Patti Label, singing Quimbara. Oh my goodness, I laughed my ass off when I saw this. It was HILARIOUS!! Not that I thought the performance was bad, I laughed because they were two woman having fun and sharing their positive energy with their fans! Celia was so popular she even appeared on Sesame Street. Sometimes I think even Spanish people don’t know what a legend we’ve lost. She always stayed connected to her Cuban culture, down to her traditional Cuban garbs. The Cuban woman with the golden, and unmistakable voice.
Born Gilberto Miguel Calderón, but to the world he was known as Joe Cuba. He became a huge success in the sixties, and if I understand his story, it appears it has happened quite by accident. Joe hit it big at a time when Spanish club music was starting to change and evolve. It was at a time when both Tito Puente & Machito once dominated the club scene with their amazing mambo style music in the 40s through the mid 60s I guess. One night, while performing with his band in NYC, he was playing for a mostly Black audience, unfortunately, the crowd wasn’t digging the flavor of mambo music. That night, the piano player (sensing the audience lack of interest) started playing random tunes, and adlib/improvised. All of a sudden the audience started to raise their hands and dance. Shortly after the band followed the piano player in improvisation, and the next thing you know, the audience started saying “beep beep.” The song later was called Bang! Bang! released in 1966. A new style of music was now embraced called “boogaloo.” Bang! Bang! hit #30 on the music charts, and it was a huge unexpected success for the small record label they were under, which was “Tico” records at the time. The song was such a hit, it inspired the hit song “Bad Girls” sung by the late disco queen Donna Summer in the very late 70s.
Tito Puente was one of many true musical legends. He was in command of every instrument he played, and could bang a congo drum like none I’ve scene before. He’s performed with many other artists, including La Lupe, and Celia Cruz . “Oye Como Va” was a very, very popular song, and has been reinterpreted by many. It’s just a wonderful tune that has been long forgotten. Listen to “Oye Como Va” on Spotify.
I absolutely LOOOOOOOOVVVVEEEEEEEEE Gloria Estefan! I just HAD to share this photo of her. She is on the front page of Spry Living’s magazine, which was in this past Sunday’s “Daily News.” This bitch is GORGEOUS!! She hasn’t aged one day, not ONE!!!! I am so happy for her, I mean for real! I’m really happy for her. Not only do I love her music, she is truly an inspiration; and anybody who is old enough to remember her during her peak career (in the 80s) understands exactly what I’m talking about. From the boating accident that not not only almost killed her and almost left her paralyzed for life; but also the issues she faced not being able to go back to her beloved country, Cuba. Just imagine, dancing is a huge part of your culture and career; laying in a hospital bed and the doctor tells you you may never dance again, ’cause your spine suffered major damage? Just sit down and think about that! Shit just not being able to walk would make me crawl over the tallest building. Honey, this woman went through a lot, and she still looks fucking good! You would never know she was under such incredible stress like that. And before you say “I don’t believe,” you better use google and search it, before you get on Facebook, cause I know a lot of your parents won’t tell you to. Thank you Gloria for your music and your positive energy. Huge love to you sistah… 🙂