I recently heard this LA band, The Boogaloo Assassins, reviving the boogaloo tradition of the 60s and 70s, and I was instantly in love. My mom and dad introduced me to the boogaloo tradition when I was a kid. My mom loved Mongo Santamaria and my dad would always play “El Watusi” by Ray Barretto. When I lived in NYC in the mid-90s, while hip-hop and dancehall was everywhere, there was significant old-school salsa and boogaloo being played in the clubs. Recently, I saw the (great) movie “Chef” and the soundtrack paid homage to this classic music with Pete Rodriguez (below) and Willie Colon among others – definitely check out the movie and the soundtrack.
Wikipedia describes the development of Boogaloo as the following: “In the 1950s and ’60s, African Americans in the United States listened to various styles of music, including jump blues, R&B and doo-wop. Puerto Ricans in New York City shared these tastes, but they also listened to genres like mambo or chachachá and Bossa Nova. There was a mixing of Puerto Ricans, Cubans, African Americans and others in clubs, whose bands tried to find common musical ground. Boogaloo was a result of this search, a marriage of many styles including Cuban son montuno, guaguancó, guajira, guaracha, mambo, and American R&B and soul.”
Enjoy the rootsy sounds of boogaloo! We will start off with the classic party song “I Like It Like That” by Pete Rodriguez:
The inimitable Ray Barretto with “El Watusi”:
Legendary Mongo Santamaria with “Mi Reina Guarija (Bésame Mamá)”:
And here is my personal favorite of all time, “Either You Have It or You Don’t” By Charlie Palmieri (Eddie’s brother):