Released in June 1979, this album marks the last official collaboration between Johnny Pacheco and Cuban sonero Hector Casanova. Later on, Fania Records would push the latter as a solo act. But there was a lot more happening at the point this album went into production. ...MÁS >
Released in June 1979, this album marks the last official collaboration between Johnny Pacheco and Cuban sonero Hector Casanova. Later on, Fania Records would push the latter as a solo act. But there was a lot more happening at the point this album went into production.
At the time, Fania’s salsa boom fell into a frenzied downhill course. The now overwhelming disco-fever craze was mining their business badly, not to mention that the very own empire they built became so big it was hard to control. As a result, Fania Records fell into the unsafe practice of choosing quantity over quality. In fact, some recordings were now facing shorter shelf time since they often died once the promotional support was pulled. What’s more, creativeness often fell short as the pressure of meeting the grueling mass production deadlines overshadowed the process.
As for Pacheco himself, his commercial ear made him come out with an obvious choice: his conjunto sound. Since a modernized replica of his favorite band’s concept (Sonora Matancera) was already his trademark sound, why bother trying to change it? Besides, if there was anyone in the salsa world with a keen eye for that mysterious ingredient we call sabor, it was Pacheco. On the other hand, the fact that local songwriters were not able to catch up with the frenzied recording pace and deadlines led Pacheco to make yet another clever decision: using the old Cuban songbook to build up his repertoire. Since his band was a conjunto típico, it was only natural to try this road as well (and that’s how his band, in another commercial move, was renamed to Tumbao Añejo from Nuevo Tumbao, although there were no significant changes in the band’s sound). His commercial ear also had lead him to Casanova at a time when Pete El Conde Rodriguez was leaving to pursue a solo career in 1974 as part of Fania’s expansion plans. Their resemblance in vocal timbre was simply astonishing, so the choice for Pacheco was obvious. On Casanova’s side, it wasn’t necessarily an easy task at the beginning: He first had to deal with El Conde’s songbook, which was written in a considerable lower range than his, making for a grueling debut (that’s the key differentiator between these two: Casanova had a wider range, especially in the upper register).He also had to face his overwhelming shadow, since Casanova at the time was accused of being Rodriguez’s clone. Of course, as Pacheco began modifying his repertoire to fit Casanova’s key, the new duo got along famously, the singer eventually receiving his proper credit as a rising star in his own right.
Five years later, with the recording of “Los Amigos”, where Pacheco formally presents Casanova and actually shares the billing with him, it was time for the Cuban singer to take the solo challenge as El Conde did back then. In fact, Pacheco presents Casanova as a solo act with the Fania All Stars in Panama in 1980 (back then, Casanova already had his first solo recording in progress, although he still works with Pacheco to this day). From the opening super hit “Agua De Clavelito” to the hard-hitting closer merengue “Me Llevaron La Cartera”, this is your typical Pacheco album: danceable from beginning to end. And Casanova assumes the challenge with finesse, especially on the opening track, with Perico’s trumpet, Charlie Rodriguez’s virtuosity, and Pacheco’s overdubbed flute chorus sharing the spotlight. Besides Pacheco’s own “Me Llevaron La Cartera”, the other big hits from this album were Cuban great Tata Guerra’s “Si La Tierra Tiembla” and “Los Pollos No Tienen Dientes”.
Still here? Okay, now it’s time to stop reading, put your dancing shoes on, and pop this CD in. Enjoy!
Louis “Perico” Ortiz - Trumpet
Ray Maldonado - Trumpet
Héctor “Bomberito” Zarzuela - Trumpet (“Si La Tierra Tiembla”, “Los Pollos No Tienen Dientes”)
Johnny Rodríguez - Congas (“Si La Tierra Tiembla”, “Los Pollos No Tienen Dientes”)
Eddie Montalvo - Congas
Luis Mangual – Bongoes
Papo Lucca - Piano
Sal Cuevas - Bass
Charlie Rodríguez - Tres
Santiago Cerón – Maracas
Johnny Pacheco – Flute, Guiro, and Tambora
Lead Vocals - Héctor Casanova
Chorus - Ramón Rodríguez and Johnny Pacheco
Producer – Johnny Pacheco
Recording Director – Johnny Pacheco
Album’s Original Photography – Lee Marshall
Original Album Design – Pam Lessero