Friday, 18 May 2018

Monguito Santamaria “Hey Sister” 1969 Cuba Latin Funk Soul Boogaloo


Monguito Santamaria “Hey Sister” 1969 Cuba Latin Funk Soul Boogaloo
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Monguito, son of the Afro-Cuban conga player Mongo Santamaría, throws down on this one. 
Hey Sister is charged with high-voltage Boogaloo, Latin Jazz, and vintage early Salsa. 
A classic release in its genre, just the right kind of fuel for a cool party to take off….~


Monguito Santamaria - Hey SisterFriday, 12. September 2008A few months ago Monguito Santamaria and his young orchestra broke into the Latin Soul Market with a hit entitled “Juicy”, from his first album for Fania Records. 
Having had great success with his first record was exciting both for Monguito Santamaria and us here at Fania. But then the question arose: “was that luck…can do it again?” 
Well, with this album “Hey Sister” the question is answered. Itisn’t luck that this young orchestra under the direction of Monguito Santamaria has got what it takes to stay on top.Not only has Monguito Santamaria followed up “Juicy” but we believe there are three tunes better than Juicy, the title tune “Hey Sister”, “Work Out” and “El Dorado”, all sung by Ronnie Marks, a new Talent. That should be enough but it isn’t. There are also two very strong latin numbers. The first is a bolero, “Soy Tu Ley” and the second, “Guajirita” a groovy guajira…..~


Oooooo-weee – a monster album by one of our favorite talents of the Latin soul era! Monguito Santamaria had a really great way of putting the electric bass right up front in his tracks – kicking things up with a bouncing groove that’s as sock-boogaloo as boogaloo can get, and which makes for some of the most outta site tracks of his era! Nearly ever number’s a winner – and the album’s stuffed with killer groovers…dusty groove…~


Great funky soulful Latin, with monster basslines on many cuts. ‘Groovetime’ is a club stormer, and Monguito swings it heavy on cuts like 'Hey Sister’ and 'Work Out’. Pounding piano, throbbing Latin soul rhythms, and sweet vocals make this one of our favorites. 9 tracks packaged in a digipak. Vampi Soul. 2003…..~


Monguito is a pianist, as well as a highly talented arranger and orchestra leader, son of the great percussionist Mongo Santamaría. In a period of only four albums in about seven years (1968 to 1974), Monguito covered the entire musical spectrum, venturing into almost every fashion of Latin music. 
The scarcity of personal information on almost all album covers of the time is impressive. The 1969 broadcast of this album, mentions Jerry Masucci (the original head of Fania) as Executive Director, and Johnny Pacheco (Dominican flautist and co-founder of Fania) as Arranger / Director. And that’s it. 
“Hey Sister” has a photo of the nonet that made the album, several of which are recognizable, since they appeared in “On Top”, their first album. Certainly, the vocalists are the same. And you can be pretty sure that a constant in the four albums was the percussionist Sam “Seguito” Turner. Also, besides Monguito’s piano, they form the band Andy González on the bass, José Mangual Jr on bongós, Rene Mc.Lean on saxophones. Marty Sheller was in charge of arranging the topics in English, while no credits appear for the selections of salsa selections. 
This album is an album of funky, soul, salsa and Latin rhythms mixed exquisitely. A delicious album…..~

First things first. Let’s not confuse Monguito Santamaria with his world-famous, late father, the great conguero Mongo Santamaria. Still less with ‘Monguito’, the venerable Cuban sonero Ramon Quian who (confusingly) also recorded a couple of albums on Fania and Fania-related labels ‘Our’ Monguito is a pianist as well as a highly skilled composer, arranger and bandleader. In the space of just four albums over about seven years, Monguito covered the waterfront, turning his hand to almost every fashion in latin music with aplomb, originality and dexterity. But our Monguito – or at least, those responsible for the original release of those four albums – seems to have been a member of the Secret Service, such is the paucity of recording and personnel information in almost all the record sleevenotes of the time. The 1970 issue of this album lists Jerry Masucci (the original Fania boss) as Executive Director, and Johnny Pacheco (Dominican flautist and Fania co-founder) as Musical Director. And that’s about it. Our best shot is to turn to Monguito’s very first album for Fania, 1968’s ‘On Top’. Here, we have a non-latino horn section (Rene McLean on alto, Harvey Hargraves on trumpet, Glenn Walker on trombone) with the great Jose Mangual Jr on bongos, Andy Gonzales on bass and timbalero Ronnie Hill. The English vocals are handled by Ronnie Marks, although the Spanish selections have an uncredited vocalist (possibly Justi Barreto, who contributes compositions throughout Monguito’s albums until 1974, when Hector Casanova takes over). As might be expected for a New York Latin album of 1967, the repertoire is biased to bugalú, shingaling and latin soul, and the disc spawned one big radio and club hit,’Juicy’. The follow-up, 1969’s ‘Hey Sister’, whilst comparatively devoid of sleeve information, has the same feel and a photo of the nonet who made the disc, several of whom are recognisable as having appeared on ‘On Top’. Certainly the vocalists are the same. And one can be pretty certain that a constant on all four albums was the great percussionist Sam ‘Seguito’ Turner, who had come to Santamaria’s band with a recording pedigree that had included James Brown’s ‘Hot Pants’ (1966) and Montego Joe’s legendary Har-You Percussion Orchestra (1967). Sam would later form the rhythm backbone of Lionel Hampton’s famous series of ‘Jazz Tribute’ sessions over the next decade or so, before more recently adding flavour to modern jazz sessions such as Don Pullen’s and Al Williams’. So, where does ‘On Top’ lie in the context of Monguito’s full Fania oeuvre? It’s a transitional album and, because of that, probably his most interesting work. It contains elements of ‘On Top’’s compelling latin soul groove, but the set’s strong salsa tipica selections prefigure the totally-salsa period of the 1974 set, ‘En Una Nota’. African American singer Ronnie Marks acquits himself with flying colours on the English vocal tracks, giving them all an authentically soulful quality that’s so often lacking in bugalú: ‘I’ve Got To Find’ sounds sufficiently convincing to be an outtake from a contemporaneous Tyrone Davis or Wilson Pickett session. ‘Crying Time’ and ‘You Need Help’ fill out the English repertoire nicely, but it’s the salsa tunes that really rock, too: ‘Asi Sere Para Ti’, ‘Guarara’ and ‘Son Del Monte’ – every one a Justi Barreto composition – all hold down a merciless clavé from start to finish. The jazz-tinged dancer ‘Todo Es Todo’ highlights another transition for Monguito, distilling the mambo swing stylings of ‘Chango’ and ‘Mambo New’ (from’Hey Sister’) in preparation, it seems, for the altogether darker jazz sounds of tunes such as ‘Martinez’ that we find on 1974’s ‘En Una Nota’. Marty Sheller dealt with all English song arrangements, whilst no arrangement credits are given for the salsa selections – a disappointing, but all-too-familiar feature with 60s Latin records. So what makes Monguito Santamaria special? Mainly, it’s his highly fluent and versatile keyboard style. He can hold down a left-hand tumbao in his sleep, but he’s equally able to relax into an improvisation when the occasion arises (listen to his loose right wrist in ‘Todo Es Todo’). And he knows how to pump that essential hamhock grease into the soul numbers, never erring on the side of cabaret sweetness as many of his contemporaries did. Overall, if you were limited to buying just one Monguito Santamaria album and wanted something fully representative of his talent and potential, ‘Black Out’ would be the one to choose. Original copies in mint condition regularly change hands for $50 or more: and that’s without sleevenotes! Written by John Armstrong….~


Tracklist 
A1 Hey Sister 2:26 
A2 El Dorado 3:10 
A3 Groove-Time 4:42 
A4 Monguito’s Theme 3:25 
A5 Work Out 2:40 
B1 Guajirita 3:32 
B2 Soy Tu Ley 3:35 
B3 Mambo New 5:56 
B4 Chango 4:30

Discography
“On Top” - (1968) 
“Hey Sister” - (1969) 
“Blackout” - (1970) 
“En Una Nota” - (1974) 

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