Salsa will never be what it was in NYC in the 70s

Discussion in 'Salsa Music' started by RICKJDLT, Apr 25, 2015.


    MAMBO_CEC Sabor Ambassador

    For those of you who are interested, here is an interview done with Cachao in which among other things he broaches this subject:;;431
    tallpaul and wildbill20056 like this.

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    Good stuff Mambo, I read this before but I never get tired of Cachao. He has to be one of my personal best of Cuban music.
    Smejmoon likes this.

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    Also when Cachao speaks about Perez Prado not really being popular in Cuba, I don't particularly care for his sound either. That is what I was eluding to about a lot of the Music being made out of Cuba not being compatible to Islander Cuban tastes. There actually were 2 Cuban music styles being made at the same time. With Cachao being the best at merging the 2 worlds and bringing a music loved internationally as well as Nationally. Of course Machito was another great example. A lot of the Cuban music that was being produced out of the states was for ballroom type of dancing, kind of like Salsa today more for dancing than anything else. Lyrics not being the most important part.

    Another thing was that Cuban music at the time was not merged that much in Cuba. There were the groups that played strictly Son, others Charanga etc. and perfection was key, similar to Classical music.
    Salsa bands not only played all the different styles but many times mixed them all up in 1 song, making a real sauce. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what obscure Salsa groups from the 70's were playing because many didn't have formal music instruction and played by ear developing their own style, there really were no bounderies. And by adding musicians from different countries the sound changed even more. It usually worked and we got some very unique sounds that are very difficult to duplicate. But there were times when it was horrible too.
    Marcos and Smejmoon like this.
  4. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I agree that Pérez Prado did mostly commercial stuff, but pretty much all other mambo I've heard is not like that. Mambo was a big craze with non-Latins who were to old to be into the new rock&roll thing it's true, but even the recordings that were made in the hopes of crossover success with the chain school mambo dancers still mixed great jazz chops with quality Afro-Cuban vocals and percussion. Even someone like Pete Terrace who was regarded as commercial actually made high quality stuff and was repsected by the likes of TP.

    Can you give any examples of music 'more for dancing than anything else'? The only example of this sort of thing I have ever noticed is that on the album Vacation at the Concord by Machito, recored in front of an audience that was probably devoid of latins, the music does seem more commercial. But I'm sure at that time the same band would have played a more hardcore set when they were in the barrio.

    The early 40 to late 50s were a golden era for Latin music. Ditto the early 60s with all those NY jazz charanga recordings. Also although the mambo acts were suffering in the 60s compared to their fortunes in the 50s, I think they were still playing in the barrios like always, it was just the non-Latin gigs that dried up.

    Perhaps you need to reassess the music made when you were too young to appreciate it/you had not yet been born. The big 3 made loads of killer tracks back in the day, and there were plenty of other great outfits too.

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    D J Yuca, I by no means meant the quality of the music made in the 40's 50's was bad music, I think most of it even to my tastes was at the least good and a lot of it great. And you are right I wasn't even born then. I also should have included music that was more for a Jazz music lover crowd, a lot more fell into that category.

    You asked for examples of music just for dancing. I have the entire Tito Puente RCA recordings and what I hear is mostly ballroom dance music in the majority of the collection, especially the earlier ones. Do you agree with that? I do like a lot of it, it is very Cuban but IMO dated and repetitious. I personally like his later stuff more.

    MAMBO_CEC Sabor Ambassador

    The first Tito Puente recording I ever bought was "Dance Mania" Vol.1 on CD and I happen to think IMO that that was one of his best...That was recorded and released in the 50's
  7. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I prefer his early stuff! Dated and repitious - no way. I like his pre-RCA stuff even more. Also, if it's very Cuban, how can it be ballroom dance music? I suppose it was made for dancing, but so was a lot of salsa.

    Different strokes for different folks (in the words of Sly Stone) I suppose.

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    DJ Yuca, yeah I think that is what it is, different strokes. Just the fact that you are a DJ would lend to different tastes. You may listen more to music for what is danceable and people in your club would like. I don't want to stereotype you. But a lot of danceable music is very difficult to listen to on an everyday basis. I do more listening than dancing now. I put the entire Tito Puente RCA recordings on my 160gb IPod I keep in my car and went through the entire 200+ songs once & had a hard time getting thru it because of what in my opinion was the repititous nature, not sure if you have ever done that. Although I admit there are a lot of gems in there TI Mon Bo being my favorite, great percussion. I personally like his tribute to Beny More album the best. To me the Tito Puente sound was big band first & Latin second. But my no means do I mean to discredit to his greatness, I know he is one of if not the baddest timbalero that ever existed, in fact I can't think of anyone better.

    When you say a lot of Salsa is made for dancing, I think almost all the Salsa from the 90's to date was made primarily for dancing. I can really enjoy todays Salsa in a club but it will never go in my car for listening. I am sure for a lot of dancers today it is the same thing, just something for the club or to throw a song or 2 in there with their mix of other music, never to be consumed as an entire album.
    Marcos likes this.

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    On the other hand DJ, I can listen to Cachao's music for days without ever getting bored, especially his descargas & danzones which I guess covers most of his music ;)
  10. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Firstly, my taste for mambo is totally at odds with what dancers I know want. Occasionally I get to DJ a gig where a few on2 dancers are present, but mostly the mambo is strictly for home use. Considering such music is half a century old that's not too suprising, although personally I love hearing it on a dancefloor.

    Re. listening to albums: I know what you mean in that I do like to listen to a whole album rather than just dancefloor tracks, however with mambo I can do that, with pleasure. With the early stuff it was 78s/45s anyway, but I enjoy good compilations too. Mambo had it all: bolero, cha cha, guajira, son montuno, guaracha, etc etc. Some of it is vocal and some instrumental, the latter being pretty much indistinguishable from Latin jazz. My point being: that's a lot of variety.

    However trying to listen to 200plus songs by one artist all from the same stage in his career might be overdoing it a bit.

    Then again I do have a box set of Machito that I can happily listen to, although it's only 4 CDs.

    What do you think of Machito's 50s/60s stuff? What about early Ray Barretto? His hit El Watusi was a bit of an early 60s equivalent of the reggaeton of today - and I am pretty sure it was massive with latins. If you listen to his other stuff from the early to mid 60s it's far superior to that track (although I can see why El Watusi was such a smash).

    What about Tito Rodríguez, Pete Terrace, Cal Tjader (not to be confused with the Cuban musician Carl Tjader) and charanga era Mongo Santamaría? Willie Bobo's 60s stuff was commercial but brilliant too - in fact the 60s was paradise for Latin music. Have you heard the album El Sonido Moderno by Bobby Paunetto from 68? It's superb. What about 50s José Curbelo? Then there's Beny Moré when he was on RCA - unbeatable. The list goes on . . .

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    Yes DJ Yuca, there is a lot of what I consider filler material in those 200 + tracks. I have plenty of Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria & Willie Bobo which I enjoy listening to very much. I also have that Machito collection & went thru it a lot easier than the Tito Puente, less filler material much smaller. I enjoy practically everything Ray Barretto & the Palmieri brothers ever made. Love the Alegre, Tico, Cesta & Salsa all Stars. As far as listening to very long lists from 1 artist, I can easily digest all off El Gran Combos music from the 70's & 80's, some earlier, not too much the Boogaloos or very early sounds, and very little of their newer stuff, but there is still a lot of music there. I can listen to all of Sonora Poncena's stuff from any time period, and have probably over 30 CD's. Orquesta Aragon is one of my favorite Cuban groups & I can listen thru all their music and enjoy practically every track. I also have probably everything that Joe Quijano ever made and I absolutely love his music, IMO better voice than Cheo Feliciano. Vocals are only important to me if they actually say something, the story telling of Salsa is what I don't see in most of the older recordings.

    Tito Rodriguez was never my thing along with Bobby Capo, these I considered more crooners for female consumption like Salsa Romantica is today. Although they did have some music I enjoyed for the most part I don't listen to them. Ismael Rivera is more my style of music.

    But yes I have expanded mostly backwards in time from Salsa dura which sometimes I need a break from too.

    I am happy to hear that you have personal music tastes that you keep separate from what you will play at a club & don't get caught up in every fad that comes out. I have a DJ friend who always talks about how dated my music is. But when say the CHa-cha-cha came in as a fad I was the first person he came to for music.

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    I also forgot DJ, how is your Spanish?
  13. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I've been learning for a few years now - I've never attended classes, I just study as much as I can, and talk to Spanish or occasionally Latin people as much as I can. Now that I've reached a half way decent level they're a lot more enthusiastic about talking to me in their own language, but it really is un camino largo. Particularly as there are so many different takes on it: Spanish (most Spanish speaking people I meet are from Spain), Caribbean, Mexican, S/Central American. They're all pretty similar really, but as I'm sure you know they all have different accents, slang and in the case of Latin and European different grammar.

    E.g. I always use tú with the Spanish people I meet as it's always informal, so they're somewhat surprised when I also use Uds., but my Latin flavour means I feel a bit funny with vosotros.

    De todas formas here's a gift for you and all the other Cachao fans!

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  14. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Sounds like you've got more mambo than I have! The Machito collection - that's the Ritmo Caliente one? I should also say I like Machito's stuff post 60s as well, right up to his 80s final recordings made in Holland.

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    Yeah, that is the Machito I have along with Bucabu, Cubop City, Machito Mucho, Ritmo Pa' Gozar & Vamos a Bailar. Also not sure if you have Chano Pozo, "El tambor de Cuba" 3 cd box set? I will go months sometimes listening to nothing but Cuban music.

    Also, even though Tito is the king of timbal I prefer Manny Oquendo's style of playing. He is not as fast or fancy but I consider him much more "soulful", and that I believe is displayed on "Tu no me quieres" on this timbale solo.


    RICKJDLT Descarga

    I see, your lack of being fluent in Spanish makes you miss out on a lot of what 70's Salsa was all about. I noticed you have a strong interest in 1970's Soul, well the best way I can describe 70's Salsa is it is the sister of 70's soul, where Lyrics were just as important as the sound. I am sure the sound alone attracts you, since if I remember correctly you are into Salsa dura.

    But yes there is a lot of music made back then and even before that did not require lyrics to feel good. I have been listening to Charlie Palmieri music lately & "Cuban Rhythms" with Peruchin, (Cuban Pianist), stands out as one of his best for me. Charlie's recording was from 1948 & Peruchin's from 1954. But these Latin Jazz masterpieces will live forever.

    Here is "Guaguanco Callejero" by Perruchin, you can see where the Palmieri's got their style from.

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    RICKJDLT Descarga

    Speaking of Charlie Palmieri, thought I would share his Biography, I think it is a very exciting story. I especially like the part about when he helped Cachao by giving a new immigrant his job for 2 weeks to help him out. And Cachao gives him recognition for this too. Also I added the Cuban Rhythms notes, get this if you do not own it.

    Attached Files:

  18. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I don't have it but I looked it up and it looks very nice. Going for a hefty price nowadays but I'll keep a lookout for a cheap(er) copy.
  19. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    And Peruchín Jr. was the pianist for NG La Banda when they got their start. One thing with Cuban music is that the lyrics are still very important. Granted there is a whole set of song topics maily about dnacing, partying and relationships but tere are also great songs with social commentaries such as "Pasaporte" by HdP

    and "classics from the 90s" such as "Un socio" by Los Van Van

    or even the recent "La Moda" by Van Van is a social commentary albeit funny rather than biting criticism.

    Plus there is the whole Afro-Cuban lyrics thing which constantly shows up in Cuban music still. IMO lots of relevance to the lyrics still. Although simple minded party and relationship songs are also quite present. Not to mention they are not controversial from a govt standpoint whereas the song like Soy todo was banned from radio when it came out. I'm going to post a link in the salseros anonymous thread to a very interesting and current article about hiphop in Cuba that you might find a good read. talks a bit about the hiphop and reggaeton situation and the role of the govt in Cuban music.
    Last edited: May 31, 2015

    RICKJDLT Descarga

    Timberamayor those definitely have some socially conscious vocals. But I can't help but think that the musical part & even vocal style is directed to the same people who like Salsa Romantica or Modern Salsa with very little consideration to the band itself, average music will do.

    The last Los Van Van album that I really enjoyed was Songo, it was different but the vocals were excellent IMO. I especially liked Titimania.

    Also I do have a video of Rap from Cuba, it is not bad but I don't particularly like like Rap en Espanol or Reggaton except for a few artists. I do like Calle 13, in fact I have a concert that he did in La Habana a few years back that is almost impossible to get here in the states. The funny thing is Calle 13 could sing about things not popular here in the states, his politics is not controversial in Cuba, so he had free speech. Countries leaders just don't like anyone exposing their dirty laundry.

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