Friday, February 25, 2011

Digging: More 45 rips for y'all

This time around there's no real gems in this batch. Mostly mediocre crate-filling cumbias and some hilarious ones that could fall in the so-bad-that's-good category. Lot of them are from México, even if they are done by Colombian artists, they are done for the Mexican market. Not that I have a preference for these, but when digging for old records in California, most of what you're bound to find comes from our southern neighbor. I promise for my next batch I'll try to get more of the good stuff, in the meantime, have fun with these.

EDUARDO NUÑEZ-La Cumbia de los Animales (Raff Records, 1977): I have no idea what the fuck is this. I can't tell if it's a song for kids in kindergarten or he's being ironic and there is has some double-entendre hidden meaning, very well hidden. My guess is that the guy who wrote was probably legally mentally handicapped. He comes out singing about the reaction he gets from his farm animals when he sings cumbia to them. And then he starts enumerating animals, with animal noises in the background. Once he's done covering all the species in his ranch, he starts the whole song all over again. That's it. Man, Mexico has to be a fascinating country if they actually allow people to record manure like this. The b-side was a ranchera so I'll spare you all the pain and skip it.    
CHALO CAMPOS-El Porro de Jaime/Ay  Gavilán (Latin International, 1978): This is probably the best song of this batch. I'd love to know the story behind it, but I could not find anything about it online. I'd guess it's an ancestor of Mexican cumbia sonidera. It has no lyrics, which is a blessing, only a guy that comes in requesting a song with an annoying voice and then thanks the band at the end for playing it. And then that massive bass-line! There's plenty of sampling opportunities here. The b-side is another cumbia about animals! In this case about a hawk. Man that's almost a whole sub-genre!

LOS DINAMITEROS DE COLOMBIA-La Probadita/La Africanita (Guitarra Discos, Date Unknown): I think these guys were either a spin-off or a side-project of La Sonora Dinamita, they even shared a singer. And they play the exact same type of pop-radio-friendly songs with catchy choruses and silly lyrics and lots of brass arrangements (I believe in Colombia this style was called chucu-chucu, to differentiate it from the classic accordion-driven cumbias). "La Africanita" is kind of an answer-record-to-/rip-off-of the crossover merengue classic "El Africano" by Wilfrido Vargas which around that time was successfully covered as a cumbia by you know who, La Sonora Dinamita.  The other song doesn't suck as much, even though the lyrics are about sucking things.

LA SONORA DINAMITA-El Corazón/Macumba (Dicesa/Fuentes, 1987): "He who has the biggest one, prove it!" starts saying this song, that I'll be compelled to sample and take it out of context in one of my sonic collages soon. Later she clarifies that she was talking about the heart, not the other vital organ. Such was the intellectual level of Mexico's favorite Colombian pop-cumbia import. They also made a bunch of lame covers, like this one here of "Macumba" a late disco tune popularized by the biggest Mexican kitsch diva of the '80s, Verónica Castro, which at the same time was a lame cover of a French pop song by Jean Pierre Mader, who probably was covering from someone else, who knows, there's too many versions.

GALIEO Y SU BANDA-La Suavecita/La Cortina (Dicesa/Fuentes, 1986): More chucu-chucu from Colombia's Discos Fuentes for export. It seems like during the 80's, once Fuentes' golden age was over and cumbia left the Colombian mainstream, they focused on producing this type of big-band cumbia that was very popular in Mexico and its neighbors (this was pressed in Guatemala), but not too much in South America. The formula is pretty much the same as La Sonora Dinamita, with songs averaging on 100 BPM, lots of percussion and brass arrangements and PG-13 lyrics. This one includes a song penned by the legendary Calixto Ochoa of Los Corraleros Del Majagual and it's not really too bad.  

LOS DINNERS-Suéltala Pa' Que Se Defienda/El Borriquito (Discos Columbia, Date Unknown): Los Dinners must be a Mexican cover band or something, I have no idea. The main track is a good up-beat dance-floor-packing cumbia. The same tune (but with complete different lyrics) was recently sampled and remixed by NYCT's house band GRC and is being released in a 7'' under the title "Colombia". Expect the review soon. The b-side could also be confused with an "animals cumbia" but in reality the donkey here is a metaphor for bad student. It is a wack-ass cover of Peret's classic "El Borriquito" (you MUST watch that video!) a silly Spanish/gypsy rumba about learning the vowels that was quite a hit in it's time and not only among elementary school kids! (It was covered in English by Cuban Peter Fernández, included in last year's Cuban Funk Experience compilation). I wouldn't dare call this a cumbia, but that's how they labeled on the record. It has a clean drum break. 

TONY CAMARGO-El Año Viejo/El Negrito del Batey (RCA, Date  Unknown): "El año viejo" is traditionally played at all New Years Eve parties in countries like Colombia, Venezuela and apparently Mexico too. Honestly, me being from Argentina, I had never heard of this song until last Dec 31st, when I was DJing at a party and the promoter's associate who's Colombian requested it. This is not the original version, but the one that was popularized in Mexico. The B-side is labeled as merengue, but has nothing to do with what we understand by merengue nowadays and it's a very politically incorrect song where the guy pretty much comes out saying "I don't like working because I'm black. All I wanna do is dance merengue with a hot black woman." Both songs are crap but they come on red vinyl, so how could I resist?

LA SONORA DINAMITA-Te Pillé, Pilla/La Bamba (Dicesa/Fuentes, 1987): I hate "La Bamba" not only for being a horrible song with lyrics that make no sense, but also because of what symbolizes in the United States. It's like the one and only song in "Spanish" (if that actually qualifies as Spanish) that's in every karaoke binder in every bar across the Nation, because that's what the average gringo thinks Latin music is. Gross. In 1987 there was a revival of this early rock-n-roll song thanks to the movie of the same name and the Los Lobos version included in its soundtrack and of course, La Sonora Dinamita wasn't gonna let the opportunity to capitalize on the fad pass them by and made their cumbia cover of this too. They were not alone and at least their version was better than the one released by Afrosound that same year.

As usual, the ripping quality might not be the ideal, but the files are in 320bt MP3 format and with great presentation. Being myself  a compulsive downloader of digital garbage, I appreciate it when the people who post take their time to actually make the files look nice, you know, by attaching the cover image to each song, imputing all the available information, etc. I even go the extra mile and give you the BPMs of the song. So, there, you're welcomed. 


And if you're new here, don't forget to check previous posts for more bizarre 45 rips!


Gnawledge said...

wow what a labor of love ... much appreciated on this end ... finna chop + feed the MPC

tezro said...

"The B-side is labeled as merengue, but has nothing to do with what we understand by merengue nowadays"

I don't know which track you may be referring to, but I'm pretty sure it might be a Vallenato based on your confusion with the merengue label.

Wikipedia to the rescue:
"Vallenato consists of four beats or "airs" that are differentiated through their rhythmic structure and the melody chord structure the accordionist gives it. These are son, paseo, merengue, and puya. The son and the paseo have a 2/4 time and the merengue and the puya a 6/8 time.......
.....Merengue is often confused with a Dominican genre with the same name, probably brought by related African tribal groups. It has a more narrative style and was often used to play décimas, a 10-line format with internal rhymes brought by the Spanish in the 16th century."

tezro said...

""El Africano" by Wilfrido Vargas which around that time was successfully covered as a cumbia by you know who, La Sonora Dinamita." This song was actually written by Calixto Ochoa and successfully covered as merengue by Wilfrido Vargas.

Juan Data said...

good one, thanks for the heads up!