The impeccable interpretation of Lavoe in this splendid compilation produced originally by Victor Gallo reveals itself in the previously unreleased track, found inside a closet at the offices of Fania Records,called “Tú Bien lo Sabes,” the song that lends its title to this collection of boleros and romantic songs, and also the tune that was the trial by fire for Héctor. ...MORE >
Tu Bien Lo Sabes
The impeccable interpretation of Lavoe in this splendid compilation produced originally by Victor Gallo reveals itself in the previously unreleased track, found inside a closet at the offices of Fania Records,called “Tú Bien lo Sabes,” the song that lends its title to this collection of boleros and romantic songs, and also the tune that was the trial by fire for Héctor.
It was late in the evening of that Wednesday, May 13 of 1981, when the sound engineer Irv Greenbaum recorded “Tú Bien Lo Sabes” at New York’s La Tierra Sound studios, under the musical direction of José Febles and Louie Ramírez. The arrangement was by Luis ‘Perico’ Ortiz, who had previously orchestrated, in 1978, the composition “Comedia”, an orchestral bolero with strings written by José Angel Espinosa.
“Tú Bien Lo Sabes” established itself through the very particular needs and visions that Héctor Lavoe had at the time. People believed that it was Willie Colón, but in effect, it was Héctor who truly wanted to record an orchestral bolero. A similar effort had been realized on the Comedia album, produced by Willie. This time, it was Héctor’s big opportunity to produce the cut himself.
As Luis ‘Perico’ Ortiz remembers: “It was very shocking. Until that day, Héctor Lavoe would only be present at the studio when it was time to record his voice. “Tú Bien lo Sabes” was the exception to that routine. Héctor arrived at midnight, and spent a very personal moment, alone, close to the restrooms down the hallway. I went to call him: “Come and listen to your baby”. He came quickly and sat down on the studio floor, listened to what we had done, and started to cry.”
“When I saw him like that, I imagined that someone must have told him that he didn’t have the talent to produce a record, that he should remain under the shadow of Willie Colón and all those things... It was a moment of awareness and understanding, and he realized right there that he could be a producer.”
“Listening to this song today, 27 years later, I can picture myself there again”, he concludes. “I see myself with him, I see him crying and, at the same time, becoming a producer. I see him weeping with joy because he had done it, and I get a very special feeling in my heart. He was such a great artist, but he wasn’t aware of his own greatness. To me, this is like going back to that time and reviving the recording of the out tapes, since everything I did was tailor made for Héctor.
This compilation also includes “Sombras Nada Más”, which could easily stands as the singer’s own epitaph, particularly during the section that he sings:
I could be happy, and yet I'm dying
Living in tears
The most horrifying moment
Of this endless drama
Also “Soñando Despierto”, a déjà vu song that occupies an unusual place in his repertoire. In an excerpt of the lyrics, Lavoe sings:
Last night I dreamed that my mother-in-law had died
And I started crying when I woke up and realized it wasn't true
She's a bad weed, wouldn't die even if she was run over by a cement truck
Right after the song had been released, Héctor found out that his mother-in-law had been brutally murdered in Puerto Rico. It was a tremendous shock, and he never performed it again.
Lavoe performed in the greatest stages of the world, delighting his audience with these masterful recordings. He was a magnificent singer, he had an impeccable voice and performance, but he never truly knew of his greatness as an artist and of the love that his fans felt for him.
Gilberto "El Pulpo" Colón – Piano
Sal Cuevas – Electric Bass
Eddie Montalvo – Congas
Eddie "Bongó" Torres – Bongos
Nicky Marrero – Timbales
Mike Collazo – Timbales
Raymond "Ray" Maldonado – Trumpet
Héctor "Bomberito" Zarzuela – Trumpet
Ite Jerez – Trumpet
Leopoldo Pineda – Trombone
Reynaldo Jorge – Trombone
Nestor Torres – Flute
Akua Dixón – Cello
Eddie Drenon – Violin
Gayle Dixón – Violin
Lead Singer – Héctor Lavoe
Producer – Héctor Lavoe
Executive Producer – Jerry Masucci
Production Coordinator, Supervisor y Compilation – Victor Gallo
Musical and Recording Direction – José Febles, Louie Ramírez
Recorded at – La Tierra Sound Studios, N.Y.C.
Sound Engineer – Irv Greenbaum,
Musical Arrangement – Luis "Perico" Ortíz
Musical Arrangements – Luis “Perico" Ortíz ("Tu Bien Lo Sabes", “Comedia"), Carlos Francetti ("Sombras Nada Mas"), Willie Colón ("Soñando Despierto", “Emborrachame de Amor”, "Seguiré Sin Ti", "Ausencia"), José Febles ("De Ti Depende", “Lloré"), Louie Ramírez ("Consejo de Oro", "Juventud", "Un Amor de la Calle", "Tus Ojos").
Producers – Héctor Lavoe, ("Tu Bien Lo Sabes", "Juventud"), Willie Colón, ("Sombras Nada Mas", "De Ti Depende", " Emborrachame de Amor", "Consejo de Oro", "Lloré", "Comedia", "Un Amor de la Calle", "Tus Ojos"), Jerry Masucci ("Ausencia"), Willie Colón & Jerry Masucci ("Soñando Despierto", “Seguire Sin Ti").
Original Graphic Montage, Photo Retouching and CD Package Design – Izzy Sanabria
Photograph of Héctor Lavoe draped with Puerto Rican Flag, Cortesy of – Eddie Montalvo
Original Album Photography – Izzy Sanabria's Latin NY Magazine Archives