The Paranas- At Hotel Hersey

Keeping it Latin this week.  Today we are going to Paraguay.  This was $2.80.  It had a pretty good track list as well.

The Paranas formed in Paraguay in 1959.  Taking their name from the river that divides their country from Argentina, the group was a trio but by the time of this recording, it was made up of Nino Palacios on lead guitar and vibes, Reinaldo Gomez on percussion and guitar, Julian Nunez on bass and guitar, and Lorenzo Gonzalez on harp and percussion.  They performed all over their country as well as in Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil on stage, in film , tv, and radio. A US Sargent stationed in Paraguay heard them and in 1967, arranged for them to come to the US.  Apparently after a few personal changes, the band dissolved in 1990.

I am not sure when this came out but I believe it was sometime in the 70’s.  It was recorded live in Hersey, PA.  It is really a quite wonderful album.  The track list superb with a diverse group of classics as “Guantanmera”, “Mais Que Nada”, “Meditation”, “Twelfth Street Rag”, “Malaguena”, “Besame Mucho”, and “Granada”.  Also the interplay and musicianship of the guitar and harp are beautiful.  Really great album.

For a sample, I was really taken back by all the aforementioned tracks but ultimately was fascinated by “The Train” a musical representation of a train ride.  I also thought “Sol-Amancere Sin Ti” really good.  Both showcased the groups massive talent.

Top Rated Record.


Los Ayer’s-Casas Viejas

Good day.  This week on the Show, we seem to have a collection of South / Latin American albums.  Let us start the week with this gem I got for $2.  It was previously owned by a Mr and Mrs Jose G. (can not make out the last name) off of Summer Mill Drive in Houston.  The title translates into Old House.

It also has a message and autograph made out to a Miguel.  Unfortunately, the message is in illegible Spanish and it is my bet that this is a personal message rather than an autograph by the band.  Who knows what mystery I could of unlocked if only these people wrote more clear?

Los Ayer’s  (translated The Yesterdays) was formed in Colombia in the 70’s and seem to be around today with at least one founding member still in the group.  They incorporated local folk rhythms into a style heavy on electric guitar. They have sold many records, released 17 LP’s and 5 CD’s, and toured around the Western  hemisphere as well as Europe.

Los Ayer’s webpage

This album seems to have been their fourth I am guessing and came out in 1975.  From CBS Records, it is a collection of straight forward Latin guitar. Pretty good stuff.  A lot of reverb.  Well , a good amount of reverb anyway.  Good drums as well along with good vocals.  This is what I consider typical Latin American soul.  Overall, I liked this album.

I really liked “El Lirico” and “Penas Amargas” but ultimately went with ” No Me Olvides” or ” Do Not Forget Me”.

Satisfactory record.

The George Shearing Quintet- Latin Escapade

Really killing it with the Latin flavored music this week.  I am not sure why.  I just kind of ended up this way.  Well, this was $2.

I have noted on the last post by George Shearing that he a) was blind and b) played at the ultra-elite Bohemian Groove (which attendee Richard Nixon described as the most gayest thing he had ever seen),  I can’t help but think the two points are strongly related.  Well, world conspiracy theories aside, here is this record  from Capitol Records in 1957.  A pretty good mix of Latin numbers as well as standards done in a Latin way.  I was really surprised how much I liked this album as I normally find Shearing’s work pretty middle of the road.  I think it was one of the more exiting records I listened to this month.

Anyway, for a sample, I went with “Anitra’s Nañigo” as well as “Poodle Mambo”.

Good record that really came out of left field.  Satisfactory.

Guadalajara Brass- Around The World

This was $1.  The track list was impressive.  The cover suggested a cheap Tijuana Brass knock off, which was popular during the latin explosion of the sixties.

Well, that more or less is what this is.  I could not find much info on the “band” itself but one source suggested that this might have been a legitimate band and not some consortment of studio musicians thrown together by Coronet/Premier Records.

In doing research, I came across a posting of this record from a fellow music blogger, Unearthed In The Atomic Attic.  His review is less than positive some of their previous work stating it was “so bad and not bad good”.   I am going to be honest, this is not a great album.  But in that line of honesty, you kind of had to know what this was going to sound like before purchase and that is exactly what I said above, a cheap Tijuana Brass knock off.

Link to Unearthed in The Atomic Age

That being said, I am sure this came out sometime in the late 60’s.  Other than that, I do not know much else about the subject.  A lot of common instrumentals at the time, including “Moon River”, “Midnight in Moscow”, and what was one of the MORE popular tunes of the era (and keeping the alliteration up), “Mondo Cane” or “More”, which is what I used as a sample. For the record, this song has less of the brass on it and is more string driven.

Eh, meh.  I know.  I kind of knew what this would sound like and it was dirt cheap but I was hoping for more and not just the song.


Caterina Valente with Edmundo Ros – Silk ‘N Latin

When I was going thru my records, I was really surprised I had this album because I had no recollection of buying it.  I mean this happens time to time with lessor albums, but for two big names that I have posted on this blog (and whose records I have enjoyed), I found it strange that I would not remember buying this.  But the fact is, I do not.  It seems I would be really stoked to see this album. Somehow I got this for what was $6.  I bought this this year as well which makes my lack of recollection even sadder.

But here we are with this, a joint effort from two international superstars who are (or at least were) pretty famous on the other side of the ocean. Apparently, the two had done some significant work together, prior to this. From London Records in 1969 ( a lot of records this month are from 1969 or 1970- strange), this record features these two in a collection of latin tunes which in reality, sounds more Brazilian like Sergio Mendes or so.  A lot of samba tunes.  Real good album.  I was a bit underwhelmed by the first side, but the second side really hit it out of the park.  

For a sample, I went with the duo’s take on the Beatles “Fool On The Hill” as well as “O Meu Violau”.

Would have been a good album if this was just by one of them.  Together, it is great.  Satisfactory,

Nico Gomez and His Orchestra- Fiesta Braziliana 2

Here is another record that I bought last November when I was in Amsterdam.  It was one Euro. At the time of this writing, I am having a fierce internal debate as to whether I should go back to Amsterdam this year for vacation.  God knows I need it.  Money is tight though.  Well, I am sure by the time you read this, I will have already made up my mind as to if I am going or not.  

This record comes from one Joseph van het Groenewoud, born in Amsterdam in 1925 and resettled in Belgium in 1947.  He was active in the 1950’s thru the 1970’s, mostly in latin flavored jazz.  He recorded a slew of records under the alias Nico Gomez as well as a couple under Peter Loland.  He would pass in 1992 but his son, Raymond, became a famous Belgian musician in his own right.

This record by its title, would imply that this is Brazilian music.  I tend to disagree. The titles and the music would imply more of a Mexican sound.  Perhaps there is not much differentiation in styles when you are in Europe, but in this hemisphere, it is pretty noticeable.  But overall, it is still a good little album. 

For a sample, I went with “La Bamba” which is a Mexican standard.

Decent record.  I was hoping for something more Brazilian in nature, but the price is still right for the music. Satisfactory.

Trio Del Norte & Trio Los Aquilluchos- Saludos Amigos

This little gem was a dollar.  I tried rolling the dice on this to see what kind of latin music I would be getting myself into.

I do not know much about this record other than what is on the sleeve. The title translates into “Greetings, Friend”.  Released on the Sutton label, a budget label who sold in supermarkets rather than record stores, this is a collection of latin music, mostly bolero and ranchera style.  My guess is that this came out sometime in the sixties.  I suppose if I was a bit more up to snuff on my latin cultures, I might be able to pinpoint where this music came from but not today, I am afraid. My money is Mexico.

For a sample, I went with “Vieja Celosa”.  It is a ranchera and reminds me of the music they play when Liberty Valance gets shot in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance although not shown below.

As far as this record goes, I got a lot of milage out of it.  I liked it.  Satisfactory.

Mantovani- Latin Rendezvous

This was $4.00.  It had a lot of songs that I like on it. 

This record, released by London Records, was pretty novel.  A competition was held to chose 12 songs with a format or title theme for Mantovani’s next album.  The winner would be flown to England for sightseeing plus viewing of the recording of the chosen songs. Pretty cool idea.

The winner of the contest was one Angeleo Ruggiero from Milford, New Jersey.   Hope he was not trying to get to the beach two weekends ago.  Anyway, Angeleo and his wife were flown to London, had dinner with Mantovani, and watched him put this album together.  I wondered at the time of this writing if Angeleo was any relation to Lefty Ruggiero of Donnie Brasco fame or the any other crime family members.

According to the entry form, Angeleo nailed this record but I find it kind of amazing that Mantovani had not recorded these songs before.  They are latin standards including such works as “Granada”, “Malaguena”, “Perfidia”, and “Siboney”.  But regardless, here they are.  A pretty good album.  It is one of his more lively efforts.  It also came out in 1963.

For a sample, I went with “Andalucia” or better known as ” The Breeze and I”.  Poor little “Perfidia”, though.  That is two albums this month that I passed on this song.

Anyway, this is a much better Mantovani album that some of them I have posted in the past.  Satisfactory.

Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra- Cugat’s Favorites

Coming along to the end of Continental week, here is this record.  It was $2.00.  I like Cugat’s work and a bunch of good songs.  Please note that I posted my perennial favorite song to post, “Brazil”, on an early record I did of his.

This record, released in Custom High Fidelity by Mercury Records in 1955, is a collection of previous recorded tunes, culminated together as the master’s favorites.  Pretty decent album.  A lot of good songs.  Besides my favorite, there is “Green Eyes” Walter Winchell Rhumba”, “A Gay Ranchero”, “Linda Mujer”, “Siboney”, “Cucaracha Mambo” and “Donte Estabas Tu”.  Some songs are instrumental. Other have female vocals. A few have Cugat singing as well.  Good album altogether.

For samples, I had a lot of choices.  I narrowed them down to two.  “Linda Mujer” and “Donde Estabas Tu”.

Good album.  Satisfactory.

The Mariachi Brass Featuring Chet Baker- A Taste of Tequila

Welcome back to Continental Week . Although this may not fall under the true definition of Continental music, it definitely belongs with the other records I have posted this month.  It was $3.  I got it for the inclusion of Chet Baker.  I would love to put some of his solo work on this site but it is hard to come by and probably not under $5.


IMDB Link to Movie

On the flight overseas I made in November, I watched the Baker Biopic Born to Be Blue.  A Canadian/ UK production filmed in Sudbury, Ontario and released in 2015, it was my favorite movie from the trip.  I thought it was fantastic for two reasons.

Baker was very prolific both early and late in his career.  In the middle, there was a period of struggle and that is the period in which this film is set.  That is first reason I really liked it.  This period made for a good story.  It showed his struggle to get clean off drugs, to learn to play the horn again, and to compete with Miles Davis and the East Coast sound.  Second, I thought Ethan Hawke did an excellent job in his portrayal of Baker.  Hawke was not playing a pretty boy.  He was playing a former pretty boy.

There is a brief scene in the movie (as well as the above trailer), in which Baker was struggling to get work and takes any job he can get.  One such job is with the Mariachi Brass.  In the movie he is wearing a sombrero in the studio. And that is pretty close to the truth.  Baker joined this quickly assembled response to Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass.  Not really highlighted in the movie was the fact that Baker played flugelhorn on the album, quite possibly because his embouchure was still healing due to be broken by a drug dealer over non-payment of services rendered. This scene was also shown in the movie as well.

And since I was over in that part of the world, I stopped by the hotel where Baker overdosed in Amsterdam.

Baker released five albums with the Brass. This album, released in 1966, was the first, I believe.  Arranged and conducted by Jack Nitzsche, this album has a decent selection of songs with a Latin tint to them.  It should go without saying but this is not among Baker’s best work.  In fact, it is rather uninspiring.  What it is is an interesting picture of a period of struggle for Baker, the same as the biopic.  It is also interesting to hear Baker on an instrument other than trumpet.

There are some decent moments on this.  Two country standards, “Flowers On The Wall” and “El Paso” come to mind.  That is why I am using them as samples.

For the most part, this is meh territory.  But seriously, go see Born To Be Blue.  I thought it was a great film.