Titel : Ponganse Duros (LP)
Artiest(en) : Gilberto Sextet
Genre : Vinyl: LPs nieuw
Medium : Vinyl
Jaar : 04-2023
Label : Ansonia
2023 Ansonia Records reissue on 180g black vinyl from this 1971 album, with insert and classic tip on jacket. As close to the original release as possible! Latin boogaloo "holy grail" LP, first vinyl reissue, remastered from the original tapes. 180 gram vinyl limited edition (500 copies) including liner notes + download card. Fantastic release.
1. Por Cada Minuto (bolero)
2. You Better Keep Up With The Times (soul)
3. El Ultimo Que Se Rie (guaracha)
4. Ponganse Duro (guaracha)
5. Echa Pa` Aca (descarga)
1. Do You Want To Be Free (soul)
2. No Es Tan Facil (bolero)
3. It`s A Doggone Shame (soul)
4. Para Que Gocen (son montuno)
5. Fango (soul)
Bandleader, pianist, composer and arranger Gilberto Cruz was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, but by the early 1960s he was active in the New York area playing gigs with his uniquely configured charanga orchestra, Gilberto Y Su Charanga. At that time there were a lot of charanga orchestras in New York, and if a band wanted to compete they had to bring something special to the table; taking the vibraphone out of the Latin jazz context and inserting it into the “typical” Cuban orchestra was Gilberto Cruz’s gambit.
By the mid-1960s the pachanga fad had died and so Cruz decided to dissolve his charanga in favor of a much more manageable and hip sounding vibes and piano led sextet in the mode of the very popular Joe Cuba Sextet. Cruz retained most of his core members, including bassist Teodoro “Teddy” Vantapool and vibraphonist and percussionist Andrew “Andy” Vega. He also recruited the gruff-voiced Genaro “Heny” Álvarez as lead vocalist, sweetening things with the female backing voice of Rosa Angélica, Eddie Lois, from New York, on conga and Enrique “Henry” Dávila (aka “Kike” or Quique), from Fajardo, Puerto Rico, came in on trap drums and timbales.
In the winter of 1970, the Gilberto Sextet went into Beltone Studios to begin the sessions that would yield their next LP, "Pónganse Duros" for Ansonia Records, which was released the following summer in 1971 and has become a sought-after collector’s item in recent years. By this point, Cruz had been a veteran of the Latin music scene for a decade and his band was a well-oiled machine that could turn out any sort of Latin music, from mambo and mozambique to merengue, from jazzy instrumental “descargas” (jam sessions) and Latin soul to Puerto Rican bomba and steamy boleros with a touch of doo-wop. But for this record, a little something different would be attempted with the addition of Lou Bartel on English language vocals and harmonica. Inserted into the Gilberto Sextet, Bartel comes across like a blend of Lou Reed and Tuli Kupferberg moonlighting in a Latin band, injecting a little East Village counterculture gringo grime into the proceedings. In the late 1950s Bartel (born Louis Bartfield) was a Brill Building / Broadway style teeny-bopper pop and novelty tune songwriter and also sang vocals on several singles including “Natural, Natural Baby,” featured in the 1957 B movie monster flick Beginning Of The End. Though the Gilberto Sextet had featured English language vocals on previous releases, Bartel was the first (and last) white singer in the band. Thankfully, it was a cross-cultural grafting experiment that worked in that “only-in-New York” melting pot way. Backing Bartel was an uptown soul-style English language female duo that seems to have been dubbed with the odd name “Stick In The Mud” for the occasion. Interestingly, Pónganse Duros literally means: “Harden Yourselves” or “Get Tough” but it’s an idiomatic expression commonly found in Latin songs that actually is interpreted as “get ready” or “prepare yourselves” (to dance, jam and have a good time). In this case get ready for a wild trip, because the Gilberto Sextet was about to “let it all hang out” and get truly groovy.
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