I welcome you once again, my friends, to luxuriate with the sounds of another Ruff Luxury Mixxup. This one is something of a mixed bag selection featuring musical discs from New York, Trinidad, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas, Louisiana, Colombia, Toronto, and Revere (Massachusetts).
50 Ways To leave Your Lover – Freeport City Sound
Colinda – The Lawtell Playboys
Cuerpo Cobarde – Alejo Durán y Su Conjunto
Cuando Un Amor Se Aleja – Alfredo Gutierrez y Su Conjunto
Aya Ya Yai – Osvaldo Rojano Con El Conjunto De Virgilio De La Oz
La Reina Del Sinu – Noel Petro
For Cane – Mighty Gypsey
El Cacharrito – Los Curramberos De Guayabal
Sema – Djosinha
Shuss – Grupo Bota
Tu Tu’s Way – Dereck “onederful” Antoine
Yo’ Little Brother – Nolan Thomas
No Pienso Volver – Baltazar Carrero
50 Ways To leave Your Lover - Freeport City Sound Kicking things off is this wicked Paul Simon cover by the Freeport City Sound, a Bahamian group that as far as I know only released one record–Old Man Times. This sparse, funky rendition of “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” is the standout cut on the album and was what caught my eye recently as I came across the jacketless LP on the shelves at a local Goodwill–a private-press Calypso record with a cover of that song?
Colinda - The Lawtell Playboys This rural Louisiana stomper from Delton Broussard and The Lawtell Playboys is taken from the 1979 compilation Zodico: Louisiana Créole Music which comes highly recommended and has certainly received heavy rotations around my living room over the last month or two that I’ve had a copy. One thing I have enjoyed about this and other songs on the album is what to me sounds like a similarity with some older Vallenato music, especially in the cadence and delivery of the vocals.
Cuerpo Cobarde - Alejo Durán y Su Conjunto Alejo Durán was my introduction to Vallenato and in retrospect I feel fortunate of that. Listening to songs like “Cero Treinta y Nueve” “Fidelina” and “Cachuca Bacana” I was able to soak in the countrified, stretched out sound of the genre’s pioneers before being exposed to it’s decidedly less ruff/more polished modern incarnation (thanks Carlota). This is one of my favorite of his compositions, “Cuerpo Cobarde” taken from a Discos Orbe 45.
Cuando Un Amor Se Aleja - Alfredo Gutierrez y Su Conjunto From one giant of the accordion to another we move now to Alfredo Gutiérrez with this uptempo side from the Codiscos LP Matilde Lina Y Mas Exitos Con El Rebelde Del Acordeon. Hopefully you can hear some of what I was saying about the Lousiana/Valledupar connection in these selections.
Aya Ya Yai - Osvaldo Rojano Con El Conjunto De Virgilio De La Oz More Vallenatos about heartbreak and lost love–this one from Osvaldo Rojano, co-produced by Dolcey Gutierrez and Felix Butron and released on Sonolux for Felito‘s Linea Especial. I really like these fast, kinda-depressing minor-key songs and wish that I had been able to delve more into the rural/Vallenato records during my time in Colombia. In fact, during the two days that we spent in Valledupar I wasn’t able to track down any person or place that was selling vinyl (though this could have been due to the Festival De La Leyenda Vallenata that was going on at the time and seemed to consume the entire city). We did, on the other hand hear some great performances.
La Reina Del Sinu - Noel Petro A native of Carete, Córdoba–nearby Montería in Colombia’s Caribbean coastal interior–Noel Petro gained popularity in Colombia in beyond during the seventies. Fabian from Africolombia put me on to Noel Petro and blessed me with a couple of his LPs including this self-titled release on the Impacto label.
For Cane - Mighty Gypsey After the somber subject matter of the last handful of songs I think we can all agree that some comic relief is in order. Trinidad’s Mighty Gypsey fulfills the task in a fine style alongside Ed Watson and Brass Circle on this Antillana 45. I hope you can enjoy this selection, after all, who doesn’t like to go for cane every now and again.
El Cacharrito - Los Curramberos De Guayabal In case the last track wasn’t enough, or you prefer your innuendoes to be in spanish, we have another double-entendre laden side, this one by Los Curramberos De Guayabal, a group about whom I know very little. Their name would suggest that they were from Guayabal, but the the only places in Colombia with that name are in Cundinamarca (pretty much the center of the country) and Medellín–neither of which are likely locations for this sort of decidedly Caribbean sounding music to emanate from. The listed singer is Alfredo Varela, but some light-googling reveals that Anibal Velasquez was involved in the group along with this recording in particular (despite the famed accordionist’s lack of mention on the Tropical 45 heard on this mix)
Sema - Djosinha Coladera is a type of dance music from Cabo-Verde, you can hear a fine example of the style on “Sema” by Djosinha (José Vieira Duarte) taken from the Mindelo Sound Lp Biografia D’um Criol. Featuring arrangements by Luis Morais (of Voz De Cabo Verde fame), this set was recorded a few miles away from where I sit–in Revere, MA at Fleetwood Recording Company. For those that don’t know, Boston and Southeastern New England are home to a large and long-established Cape Verdean community dating as far back as the early 19th century. My collection only scratches the surface but there has been a long history of Cape Verdean records passing through, and music being recorded and released in the areas between Boston and Providence, RI.
Shuss - Grupo Bota Grupo Bota is a Venezuelan group that at one time had a pretty big following in Colombia, with a lot of their stuff being licensed from Velvet and released on Fuentes. The sound leans towards the psyche/rock side of things but with heavy doses of funk and afrobeat in the mix. “Shuss” appears on the 1976 Discos Fuentes pressing of the album Boom!
Tu Tu’s Way - Dereck “onederful” Antoine Oh damn it just got kinda weird in here… “Tu Tu’s Way” is a Caribbean style Disco track about Desmond Tutu from the album Amandla recorded and released in Toronto sometime during the eighties. The credited musicians are “onederful” as writer, Harley Quashie as Drum Programmer, and Mikey on Percussion. Harley Quashie shares another credit as arranger alongside Carlton Zanda.
Yo’ Little Brother - Nolan Thomas Almost a year ago now I met a lady at a small church flea market in my neighborhood who offered to sell me a pile of records from her car. I was on my lunch break and had no time to look then, but told her that I would return after the end of my shift to look at the records. A few hours later, after trying my best to get out on time, I drove over to the church about thirty minutes after the time that we had agreed on. There was no sign of the lady, but a pile of about two hundred records was stacked on the sidewalk near where we had spoken. This 12″ was in the pile that, when I looked through it ended up being mostly kinda bad disco and r&b. Indeed, this song itself is pretty bad, but when you slow it down it takes on a whole new character–in my ears anyway. There is a video but I don’t even want to subject you to the link.
No Pienso Volver - Baltazar Carrero And back to some more ruff rugged and raw territory here with “No Pienso Volver” sung by PR’s Baltazar Carrero with backing from Nieves Quintero y Su Conjunto Cuerdas De Oro Del Caribe. The song is listed on the Ansonia 45 as a Milonga–a style of music that I know nothing about but that seems interesting at first glance.
Thanks you for listening, Enjoy.