Willie Colon Canta: Hector LavoeThe Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
“The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” is Willie Colón’s definitive transitional album. Recorded in 1974 and released the next year, here for the first and only time you will find Willie’s three key stages of his career on a single album. This album marks the formal end of his great first band with singer Héctor Lavoe, an eight-year collaboration that catapulted them to stardom. At the same time, it marks the beginning of Willie’s symphonic/solo period, as well as the start of a rewarding relationship with Panamanian Ruben Blades, who had the difficult task of filling Lavoe’s spot in the band. ...MORE >
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
“The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” is Willie Colón’s definitive transitional album. Recorded in 1974 and released the next year, here for the first and only time you will find Willie’s three key stages of his career on a single album. This album marks the formal end of his great first band with singer Héctor Lavoe, an eight-year collaboration that catapulted them to stardom. At the same time, it marks the beginning of Willie’s symphonic/solo period, as well as the start of a rewarding relationship with Panamanian Ruben Blades, who had the difficult task of filling Lavoe’s spot in the band.
This album was recorded while the Fania All Stars made history in Kinshasa, Zaire at the Stadio Du Hain in front of 80,000 fans. Willie Colón was meant to be a part of this concert, but never got on the flight, leaving the flight’s departing gate at the very last minute, thanks to his phobia of needles and watching his fellow All Stars receive the necessary vaccines prior to boarding the flight. So, as the rest of the All Stars made the long trip to African soil (Lavoe and Yomo Toro included in the line up), Colón booked the Good Vibrations Studios to himself, conceiving and recording the base tracks of this album. At the time, it was already a fact that Willie and Lavoe had separated, as a creatively exhausted Willie decided to dismantle the band and take a break. Meanwhile, he assumes the musical director spot for Realidades, a public television show for the Hispanic audience. Here begins a cumulative flow of new ideas that Willie records for the first time on the very album you are holding now.
Colón was already flirting with Brazilian influences in songs like Voso, Pescao and La Maria. Here, he frontally embraces the idiom in songs like Baden Powell’s standard “Cua Cua Ra, Cua Cua” and his own arrangement of Blades’ “El Cazanguero”. On the former track, Willie makes his formal debut as a singer, while Blades himself takes the vocal role on the latter on Willie’s suggestion. Since this was one of Blades own compositions about a Panamanian correctional facility in Coiba during his years as a law student, Willie decided it made more sense to have Blades sing it instead of Lavoe, as it was originally intended (despite the fact that Blades at the time was a regular with Ray Barretto’s orchestra). Colón also flirts with Flamenco influences on the opener “Toma”, while proposing his own Latin funk fusion on themes like “I Feel Campesino”, a vehicle for Elliott Randall’s powerful guitar and the daring “MC2”, with Toro’s cuatro on a one-on-one with Randall and a two-bongo solo by José Mangual Jr.
The other half of the album, where we hear the traditional sounds of Willie’s now old band for the very last time, was originally conceived as the basis for an unfinished third volume of Asalto Navideño. The instrumental “Doña Toña” is Willie’s tender homage to his grandmother with Toro on the spotlight. “Guaracha” brings back Willie the singer, this time in typical Boricua jíbaro fashion, while Lavoe reclaims his spot to finish what he started on the two original Asaltos from 1970 and 1973 on “Potpourri III” and “Que Bien Te Ves”. While the first is a medley of traditional Puerto Rican songs (De La Verdegue, Borinquen Me Llama, etc.), for the second track, this album’s top single, Lavoe does the unthinkable by making a stunning imitation of the legendary Chuito El De Bayamón, taking special care of not making a parody out if it, which is not an easy task, and Lavoe does it magisterially.
Enjoy Willie Colón’s three vital stages of his long career, combined historically on this singular album.
Willie Colón – Trombone, lLeader
Eric Matos – Trombone (“Potpourri III”)
Tom Malone – Trombone, Tuba
Low Soloff – Trumpet
Antonio Montagna – Trumpet
Mario Rivera – Baritone Saxophone
Bobby Porcelli –Alto Saxophone
Prof. Joe Torres – Piano (“Potpourri III”)
Rodgers Grant – Piano
Santi “Choflomo” González – Bass (“Potpourri III”)
Eddie “Guagua” Rivera – Bass
Louis “Timbalito” Romero – Tmbales (“Potpourri III”)
Jose Cigno – Trap Drums
Milton Cardona – Congas , Brazilian Percussion
Ray Armando – Brazilian Percussion
José Mangual Jr. – Bongo, Percussion
Elliott Randall – Electric Guitar
Yomo Toro – Cuatro
Lead Singer - Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe, Rubén Blades
Chorus - Ada Chabrier, José Mangual Jr., Willie Colón, Rubén Blades, Ernie Agosto
Producer – Willie Colón
Recorded at - Good Vibrations Sound Studios, New York City
Engineer - Jon Fausty
Arrangements - Willie Colón, Marty Sheller
Original Album Photography – Lee Marshall
Original Album Art and Design – Ron Levine