So it’s the weekend and as you decide what to do in the city, I thought I would share a little batch of latin disco groovers to get your weekend off to a sweet start, plus most of them clock in over five mins so they also work as a little background music while get ready to head out into the night.
Up first is La Charanga 76, a group formed in NYC by Cuban guiro player Felipe Martinez, they’re best known for their latin covers of popular disco hits, with “No Nos Parraran” they’re most classic song a rendition of McFadden and Whitehead’s “Ain’t no Stoppin us Now”. The track’s a real dance floor killer and despite it being a cover, even more risky a disco cover, the band’s tight sound and unique instrumentation really make this band a treat to your ears and your feet. Their versions usually have a great blend of panning double claps, tight strings, great latin percussion, and some nice flute elements which come from the 50’s Cuban genre from which the band takes its name. Also check out they’re equally good version of Chic’s “Good Times” also sweetly arranged by Gonzalo Fernandez with the band again giving the cover their distinct latin touch.
Up next is a little track by another NYC group, Orquesta Novel, formerly known as the Orquesta Tipica Novel. Fronted by pianist, composer, and vocalist Willie Ellis, the group got it’s start during the boogaloo craze in the 60’s. by the time of this album’s release, 1980 they were placing their efforts in a crossover album with songs sung in English and incorporating some nice disco elements like the 4/4 time and strings on “Dance, Dance, Dance”. Although I didn’t include it here, another cut on this album that gotten some attention is their rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amor” which finds the band using their harmonizing vocal qualities and extending the middle part of the song into a sick percussive workout of latin rhythms.
Moving beyond the New York scene, here’s a little underground track that’s become a little bit of an underground anthem, Two Man Sound’s “Que Tal America” from 1979. The band members were originally from Belgium and cranked out a slew of samba and latin style disco numbers most of them heavy on the cheese factor, but somehow they made this little catchy hit and it still holds its own on the dance floor even today.
Lastly, here’s a little slower groover with some really nice keys by the Mexican band Super Taxi Banda, covering a tune by 70’s Ohio funk band Sun. I threw in their wonky funk version of Perez Prado’s “Que Rico Mambo” in our last podcast and there’s other wacky stuff on the record that i’ll probably save for another day. But until then enjoy your weekend in the city and also thanks to everyone who came out this past Thursday to the Fulton Street Collective fund raising event. Enjoy the musssica . EB