It's been a while since my last grab-bag of 45 rips, and I've been accumulating way too many new (actually old, but new for me at least) 7 inch singles to dump them all in just one post, so please be patient, I'll try to catch up with a series of posts of which this is the first. To all the new followers who have been demanding that I re-upload the old collections of 45s because the links expired (or because megaupload disappeared) I'm sorry, but that's not going to happen, you missed the train on those. But don't worry there're plenty more coming up, so stay tuned to The Hard Data.
LOS WAWANCO-Volume#20 (Odeón Pops, date unknown): I've already posted a similar picture sleeve EP of Los Wawancó on a previous post. Like many Argentine releases of that period, it comes in small hole 7'' vinyl but at 33RPM and with two songs on each side, unlike the usual cumbia 45RPM singles. Includes one of their greatest hits "Tiburón a la vista" one of the few cumbia songs I remember from my early childhood in the '70s. I don't know who did the original version of this (most likely somebody in Colombia) but during that decade this silly song about sharks eating people at the beach was tremendously popular in both Argentina and Mexico. In fact, Mexico's Titán made a great use of some version of it, turning it into a hip-hop beat for La Mala Rodríguez to rap on, on an early 2000's hit included on the soundtrack of the crossover movie Y Tu Mamá También.
PLUMA & SUS OCHO OCTAVOS-"El Cachumbembe" (Sonolux, date unknown): This is not a cumbia but I'm gonna go ahead and include it in this batch anyway because it's a pretty dope track. I know nothing at all about the artist or even the music style (it comes labeled as bomba, but considering this is pressed in Colombia, I don't assume this is the same thing they call bomba in Puerto Rico, you know how genres names have complete different meanings in each country). Still, it's very up-beat and afrocentric and it has an irresistible dancefloor-packing groove that never failed when I dropped it in my sets.
MANTECA-"Amalia Batista" (Discos Istmeños, date unknown): Another non-cumbia track worth sharing. A percussion-heavy Afro-Cuban classic in a Panamanian pressing. The song is a very well known standard thanks to the version made famous by Tipica 73, but I'd argue this version here by Manteca is way better and a lot funkier. I don't know any history behind or around this song and the black woman named Amanda Batista who's referred on those lyrics, who apparently had some super-powers over men. But just by googling her name you get such a wide array of result, from an opera all the way to a cheesy '80s telenovela. There must be some Cuban reader out there who'll come to the rescue and tell us who this mysterious woman was, I have no idea.
CESAR POMPEYO Y SU SONORA-"Cumbele" (Tropical, 1976): There's certainly a grey area where the line that separates cumbia from salsa gets blurred--at least for the people in the record labels in charge of labeling specific musical genres. The following two singles are examples of this, albeit from opposite directions. This song here is titled "Cumbele" and with a title like this you know it's gonna fall somewhere in the cumbia-related realm. It does. Somehow, however they labeled it African Salsa, and honestly the African elements are way easier to find than the salsa. The flip-side comes with a song that would more easily fall in the salsa category and it was properly labeled, although I didn't bother ripping it for this post because it didn't help me support any point.
THE LATIN BROTHERS-"Bella Cumbia" (Discos Fuentes, 1977): Following with the blurring of the lines that separate cumbia from salsa, here we find this golden age Discos Fuentes release with a song labeled as cumbia, and titled "Bella Cumbia" but with arrangements more appropriately typical of a salsa. So yeah, there you have it, first a song that I'd call cumbia, labeled salsa, and a song that I'd call salsa, labeled and titled cumbia. I mean, if these record label people in South America can't tell one from the other, how can we honestly expect the average gringo to differentiate genres?
LOS BESTIALES-"Soy Parrandero"/"Cumbia Moruna" (Peerless, 1977): In a previous batch of 45 rips I included the one that I assume is the original version of "Soy Parrandero" in an interpretation by Emir Boscan. This one here came out the same year and with a tighter more up-beat instrumentation and the same misogynist lyrics about a guy who wants to party all night just to come back home and find his wife waiting patiently for him with the dinner ready and the motherfucker tells her "hey, that's how I was when you first met me!" (Hadn't we all used that excuse at some point in our lives?) The flip side is a slower, sadder, but still danceable cumbia with a really nice piano and plenty of brass arrangements. I don't know anything about the artists but I assume they're Mexican (that's where the record is pressed) and I also will assume that the parrandero song was some sort of a big hit in Mexico in those years, since it matches perfectly the idiosyncrasy of the stereotypical old school Mexi-macho man.
LOS SHAPIS-"Llantos de Amor" (Horóscopo Discos, date unknown): There's a lot of really sappy Peruvian cumbias, about crying and love lost and corny stuff like that. This is only on of them. I'm not a big fan of the genre. I like the whole psychedelic aspect of chicha, the surf guitar and the percussion, but I enjoy it the most on its instrumental format, when they come with lyrics, they're usually sad, unoriginal and in most cases very poorly written. Still, this track is pretty (unintentionally) funny, even if only for the introduction, when the singer/announcer (by the name of Chapulín!) comes out saying "don't cry no more my love" and right after that he starts dropping dude's names "Jorge Marti, Jaime Moreira" which probably back then led to a lot of confusion regarding the sexual orientation of said men. Sorry, I have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy. The flip-side was scratched so I couldn't rip it but it was also a sad song about losing a loved one.
LA LUZ ROJA DE SAN MARCOS CON ANICETO MOLINA-"Me voy para Macondo"/ "La Gorra" (Polydor, 1977): Accordion virtuoso Aniceto Molina is better known in Mexico, El Salvador and the US than his homeland Colombia. This particular single was recorded and pressed in Mexico and he even drops shout-outs to Mexican cities on it, but both songs are 100% Colombian. "Me voy para Macondo" was covered quite a few times (I also have a version by Argentina's Riki Maravilla) and as you may infer by the title is about going to that mythological town of Gabriel García Marquez's literature. The flip-side is a song by Lisandro Mesa about a hat. Yeah, just that. One appeals to the well-read intellectuals, the other one, at people who wear hats. Both are very high up there in the BPMs (140 to 150) making them really hard to mix in smoothly in a DJ set, but you can totally drop any of these two at the end of the night and I guarantee people will go bonkers.