Yes, after a two months long hiatus my favorite section of this blog is back, the section where I share with you, my followers, some of the odd finds I came through while digging for cumbia in my favorite format, 7 inch records. As usual, I try to provide the best quality accessible of rips and, unlike other lazy bloggers out there, I take the time to add the art and all the information available along with each file. Enjoy!
LOS CORRALEROS DE MAJAGUAL-"Mi Burrito/Merengue Bonito" (Discos Fuentes, date unknown): I don't think there's any other farm animal with more cumbia references than the donkey. How the fuck can people make so many fucking songs about donkeys without talking at any point about donkey cocks and bestiality (sorry, inter-species erotica!) I just don't really understand it. And we are not talking about the all in one Mexican wrapped lunch to go here either, it's the actual burro. I have at least ten other cumbia songs about donkeys by the likes of Riki Maravilla, Los Millonarios, Black Power, Grupo Ternura, Los Dinners, and yes, of course New York's Yerba Buena who scored a hit in 2005 with the single "El Burrito" (and that's just from doing a search on my Itunes, imagine if I went on google!). If that wasn't enough to prove that there's a trend here, Los Corraleros themselves had a previous hit with "La Burrita de Eliseo" penned by Lisandro Meza. I certainly do not understand the trans-national cumbia obsession with the donkey show, if it's just the results of cumbia coming from a rural background or there's some hidden double meaning that I don't get. Can anybody explain this to me?
LOS DESTELLOS-"Ronda Tropical/El Baile De La Coja" (Odeon, date unknown): I always wonder how these guys came up with the names of the songs, considering they're all guitar-driven instrumentals and don't really have a theme. Some, like "Ronda Tropical," are titles generic enough to suit pretty much any song, but "El Baile De la Coja" (the crippled girl's dance) probably has some hilarious anecdote behind the seemingly random title selection. Who knows? Anyway, two lesser known Destellos up-tempo tracks to drive all you chichadelicos crazy.
EMIR BOSCAN Y LOS TOMASINOS-"Soy Parrandero" (Top Hits 1977): I already gave you a vinyl rip by Emir Boscan last year, he's the Venezuelan guy who got really big in Mexico with some down-tempo cumbias like the memorable "Carmenza" where the basis for the Up, Bustle & Out's "Cumbion Mountain" rhythm came from. This time we have him doing "Soy Parrandero" a little more upbeat track with some misogynist un-PC lyrics of a guy who wants to drink and party and expects his wife to wait for him with the dinner ready at home. Only one track was ripped, the B side was a boring ass bolero.
GRUPO LOS PIRAS-"Yolanda" (Arriba Records, date unknown): Talking about Emir Boscan, remember the B-side of "Carmenza" was a song titled "Yolanda," well this is basically another version of that same song. The same one that Mexican Institute of Sound used for their opus maximum "Para No Vivir Desesperado." I don't know which version was used by M.I.S., probably neither. The thing is, the female name Yolanda is almost as popular amongst cumbia recurring titles as the donkeys. And this trend is equally strange, considering many different cumbias have been dedicated to women of such names in countries like Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, which leads me to think that Yolanda must be the most popular name amongst the female cumbia crowd, regardless of nationality. (Some examples of cumbia odes to different Yolandas come signed by La Integración, Roberto Torres & Su Charanga Vallenata, Orlando Fortich & Su Orquesta, and again, that's only from doing a search in my own hard drive).
ANIBAL VELAZQUEZ-"Alicia La Flaca" (Gema, date unknown): A prolific artist like accordion master Aníbal Velázquez is expected to have quite many flops along his immense succession of hits. In this case, the B-side was so horrible that I couldn't even finish listening to it. I just ripped the above mentioned track a super fast tempo accordion-driven guaracha that will cause carpal tunnel if you wanna play it along on the güiro. Anyway, a cool dance track to pack the dancefloor.
CESAR CASTRO-"Mucho He Sufrido/Yo Se Perder" (Discos Fuentes, date unknown): This guy came out of the lines of Los Corraleros De Majagual and the influence is evident. Accordion-driven cumbia/paseo/merengue with a distinguishable rural feel. Both sides are post-break-up songs that talk about being a loser, having suffered rejection and dumping and all that stuff. This is the type of music you play at the parties when you want people to go to the bar and order more drinks.
GRUPO MERCURIO-"El Velero" (Fonodiaz, 1992): I used to think that the cutting point for the production of cumbia 45s was 1991 but this one here proved me wrong, apparently in 1992, with the CD already completely established as the dominant music format, some people were still pressing 7'' vinyl with Latin music on them. However this particular one was released in the US, where as we know, the pressing of vinyl never completely ceased, unlike the southern part of the continent where vinyl pressing plants disappeared like the dinosaurs. It's funny because most of the cumbia available in this format (before the renaissance of the last couple of years) was from the '70s and '80s and it was produced with 100% live instrumentation, but in the '90s synths and keyboards became standard in commercial cumbia production and you almost never hear that on 45s, so this is a nice exception.