Monday, February 8, 2010

Image of the Day

I love this photo of the Joe Cuba Sextet and special lady friends at the Pines Hotel in the Catskills. It's featured in the booklet that comes with a new 2-CD retrospective, El Alcalde del Barrio, which I designed for Fania as part of their ongoing A Man And His Music series. All of the tracks included have been re-mastered by Wax Poetics and the booklet includes extensive liner notes and many more photos. Sunday's New York Times had a nice write-up of the release, which is in stores February 23rd.
The bandleader and conga player Joe Cuba, who died last year at the age of 78, made fearlessly welcoming records. He wanted the widest possible audience, so he worked at mambo, pachanga, Latin boogaloo, salsa, bolero doo-wop, Latin rock; he used hard-hitting percussionists, romantic crooners, soul choruses, electric guitars. Apart from the rhythm, the vocal hooks of his greatest songs had schoolyard genius: “Beep beep/Bang bang/Ungawa/That’s power” (“Hey Joe, Hey Joe”); “Cornbread, hog maw and chitterlings” (“Bang Bang”); “I’ll never go back to Georgia/I’ll never go back” (“El Pito”), “Oiga mi pregón/Es muy sabroso” (“Pregón Cha Cha”). All of those are found on “El Alcalde del Barrio,” a new two-disc retrospective on Fania, taken from records made between 1956 and 1974. It’s New York City music of incredible joy, crossover-minded down to its foundations.
More info here.

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