Doc Martian's Lounge: Gitcher Soul Food Cookin' for this one.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gitcher Soul Food Cookin' for this one.

Joe Cuba's Greatest Hits.
Fania Records

OK, this is a pretty good album. I came to it with false expectations, having heard the Joe Cuba Sextet's 'Do You Feel It' and figuring it'd mainly be sweet ghetto homage and soulful post-boogaloo. Those expectations of mine were inappropriate though. It'd be like picking up a Bob Dylan album and expecting him to be in his Nashville Skyline phase. Not that there isn't a little of Joe Cuba's Nashville Skyline phase. Its well represented by 'Ain't It Funny What Love Can Do' and 'Oh Yeah'. Still, there's lots more to this album. Mambo, rhumba, post-mambo, latin boogaloo, some stuff that's straight-up soul, jazzy grooves, return to roots mambo, salsa and latin dance. All of that is in here, and its a pretty good album. Had me up and dancin' within the first couple of songs, and I haven't had an album that made me wanna get up and dance for a long, long time. Joe Cuba, a whole bunch of band members and sidemen. It gets down. You'll dig it. Still, I've listened to a lot of greatest hits albums, and while it moves me, it isn't real real gone. But that's to be expected, it takes a lot to make my big toe shoot up in my boot, and while this doesn't quite do that, it gets it jigglin' around a little bit.

Joe Cuba is one of those unsung musicians that never breaks national press. I mean Tito Puente, Poncho Sanchez, Carlos Santana, but who the fuck is Joe Cuba. The man brought forward Latin Soul and Latin Boogaloo and had a lot to do with designing Nuyorican musical forms for 40 years. Guarantee Tito Puente, Poncho Sanchez and Carlos Santana all have a few albums by him. "Bang, Bang" is one of the key tracks and the point when Cuba developed a following, a silly novelty lyric with a hella sweet timbale orchestration backin' it up. 'I'll Never Go Back to Georgia' is another kind groove. This is the stuff that was bumpin' in the barrio when the hippies and the soul hipsters were bumpin' their respective grooves. Cuba recognizes the tenor of the times though, he tosses a few English tracks into the mix, as well as soul, funk & R&B grooves. You'll get down. I'd say this one should be picked up as a good survey of the years 1962-1980 in New York Puerto Rican tuneage. You won't be disappointed. I even came expecting it to be something else and still dug it.

You might also want to download 'Do You Feel It' from as one of your two free tracks from Fania that are advertised for signing up for Fania Records website. I wouldn't hazard to guess what other song you might want to download though. I mean Fania has the heart and soul of New York City's music for 40 years in its archives and releases. If you dig Latin Dance, Puerto Rican, New York City, or 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s music, you'll have a whole treasure trove to explore.


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