I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite roots tunes from various genres including blues, soul, R&B, hip-hop, and world. The tunes will represent the spirit of this blog. The music will be interspersed with Moonbaby and I chatting about all things music, culture, and life.
It should be a really fun show and I hope you’ll tune in!
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):
Duke Ellington was a native son of Washington DC and his icon and energy is everywhere. I lived there from 2000 through 2005 and always felt the presence of his legacy during my time in that beautiful city. I was browsing Politics & Prose Bookstore on Connecticut Avenue on a rainy day and I was drawn in by the sound of the rain co-mingling with the piano keys of the most sophisticated jazz music. It was “Money Jungle” by Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach.
Up until then, I knew Duke Ellington as a band leader and for his earlier music like “It Don’t Mean A Thing” from 1943. Money Jungle was released in 1962 and is a stripped-down post-bop jazz trio music, very different from the big-band sounds I was used to hearing from Ellington.
I promptly bought a copy and haven’t stopped for the past 10 years playing this album on a regular basis. When I listen to it, I feel urbane and funky, and it allows my mind to wander on about society, politics, and the culture we are living in.
It’s simultaneously contemporary and classic, as it was recorded more than 50 years ago, but sounds as current as something recorded last year. It was recorded in one live session and was not rehearsed. The album you hear is the first time these musicians played together. Remarkable.
You should buy this album for your essential albums collection whether on iTunes or the CD version.
Here is the second track from the album “Fleurette Africaine (African Flower)”, composed by Duke Ellington:
Here is the second to last track “Caravan” composed by Juan Tizol: