Since its debut during the boogaloo era, the musical identity of the Lebrón Brothers orchestra has remained unchanged for over four decades. With their roots firmly planted in Aguadilla, a town located Northwest of Borinquen, the Lebrón Brothers were part of the Puerto Rican diaspora that moved to New York during the '50s, dreaming of a better life. ...MORE >
Since its debut during the boogaloo era, the musical identity of the Lebrón Brothers orchestra has remained unchanged for over four decades. With their roots firmly planted in Aguadilla, a town located Northwest of Borinquen, the Lebrón Brothers were part of the Puerto Rican diaspora that moved to New York during the '50s, dreaming of a better life.
Known as the Brooklyn Bums, Pablo and his younger brothers José, Angel, Frankie and Carlos established themselves with a traditional sound that incorporated touches of R&B, soul and other Afro stylings. Boasting the combination of José and Angel on arrangements, backup vocals, songwriting and the harmonic foundation of piano and bass, the Lebrón Brothers brought a unique musical personality to the New York salsa scene. Its predominant characteristic was the deep, thickly textured voice of Pablo Lebrón, a versatile singer who was equally adept performing guaracha and guaguancó, bolero and son montuno.
By the time the brothers recorded La Ley in 1980, Pablo's voice had lost power and shine. A few years later, he would be devastated by a stroke that left him paralyzed in a wheelchair. Even though he continued recovering in 2008, he was unable to sing like in the old days. In the band's last recordings, he was replaced by Luisito Ayala and Frankie Vázquez.
And yet, Pablo showed his veteran chops on La Ley. The title track praises Jesus Christ, son of God, the healer of souls who seek Him with sincerity. The Lebrón Brothers had already touched on religious themes on songs like “Moros y Cristianos” and “Fe.”
In 1980, the Lebrón Brothers became one of the many orchestras who added strings to their music, following a salsa trend which acknowledged the inescapable influence of the Latin balada genre. The names of the violin and cello players were not listed in the original credits. Unlike other artists who lost some of their swing as they added orchestral flourishes to their sound, the brothers capitalized on the strings, using them as a rhythmic addition on cuts like “Saludo a Colombia” and experimenting with symphonic arrangements on “Que Cosas,” “Ven y Ves” and “Pena y Dolor” - a song about musicians and their loneliness.
La Ley is a watercolor of Afro-Cuban rhythms such as son, guaracha, son montuno and guaguancó, framing nine stories filled with urban substance, written by José and Angel Lebrón. “Que Cosas” talks about the kind of friends who disappear when adversity knocks on your door - their love and interest fades away from one day to the other. “Mi Debilidad,” which begins with a touch of bomba sicá, is an ode to female beauty. Women, with their exquisite charms, complement the psychology of the Latin American male, who will fall head over heels with anything wearing a skirt. Dancers will be similarly seduced by the rhythmic flavor and tasty mambos of “Ven y Ves” and “Pena y Dolor,” two tunes loaded with swing and harmonic sophistication.
Equally powerful is the song “Dulce Patria Mía,” with décimas dedicated by the Lebrón Brothers to Puerto Rico, their beloved paradise. The rhythm of the seis campesino, with the strings and Angel Lebrón's cuatro, complement the lyrics - expressing the feelings of an absent boricua who finds inspiration in the Puerto Rican countryside.
The release of La Ley went by unnoticed in Puerto Rico. But the record became a hit in New York, Colombia and other countries where the Lebrón Brothers continued establishing their popularity.
Bongo and backup vocals – Carlos Lebrón
Congas – Frankie Lebrón
Acoustic Bass – Angel Lebrón
Piano – José Lebrón
Trumpet – Charlie Hernández
Trumpet – Joseph Trapanese
Trombone – Edward Preston
Sax – Ion Muñoz
Timbales – Edwin Acevedo
Percussion – Osvaldo Acevedo