Greetings to all, I hope that everyone has come back from their holiday celebration full of whatever goods your families were dishing out, and you survived another one wherever you may be. Today with my vegetarian meal still generating leftovers, I’m serving up a nice big plate of Latin Boogaloo, courtesy of the Joe Cuba Sextet. I’ve always been partial to some Latin music, (Latin Jazz and Soul) scooping up artists like Cal Tjader, Eddie Palmieri, Machito, Joe Bataan, Ray Barretto, and Willie Colon. I got turned on to Earl Coleman’s “Latin Love In” by an old head at a record show one day, and well, the rest is history. I’m definitely going to talk about some Joe Bataan in future posts. For some reason, the Tico label catches my eye while digging every time. What can I say, I have a label problem, back off man. A beautifully designed 45 is hard to resist, I know you diggers know the feeling. Of course it’s not just the label that keeps me coming back, it’s that beat.
This record is neither rare nor highly sought after in the Latin music genre. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t his biggest hit, however, it is one of the songs said to have helped initiate Latin Boogaloo as a music genre to the masses. Joe Cuba has a lengthy and impressive musical career. From his meager beginnings in Spanish Harlem, to his historic meeting with Tito Puente, to his eventual induction into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame, Mr. Calderon (later changed to Cuba), has made his mark in Latin Music. Now let’s get right down to “Bang Bang”.
From the very beginning the piano groove and hand claps starting off “Bang Bang” reel you right in. This groove builds, in come the percussion, and the party gets turned out (if I can steal a phrase from the Biz and Paul Nice.) This culmination of Spanish and English lyrics, latin percussions (one word: Congas! two words: more Congas!), and Cuba’s call and response to the Sextet and the audience united with “Sock it to Me” and “AAAAH Funkay , Funkay (all in a Spanish accent) make me want to get up and try to merengue. Notice I said try. I will leave the dancing to Cuba and his band. By the time the breakdown comes in he’s shouting: “Corn bread, How Maw, and Chitterlins” and begging the listener to come get what he’s serving. I can not recommend this record enough. It’s one of my favorite Latin records, one that does “Turn the Party Out” some 30something plus years later. This record has been rereleased on the Vampisoul label on 45, but here is the original Tico 45. I’m hoping this slice of Latin goodness fills you up. Keep Diggin’!