Tropical heat with Federico y su Combo Latino!!!

“Federico Boogaloo” (decarga boogaloo)

“Guajira Boogaloo” (guajira)

“El Sabroson” (guaracha)

“Todo el Mundo” (boogaloo)

“Me Falto Estar Mosca”  (guaracha)

Here’s a plateful of tropical bangers from one of Venezuela’s heavyweights of tropical music, Federico y su Combo Latino. Although many may have thought New York was the center of Latin music in the late 60’s and 70’s, the South American scene was just as hot, cooking up their own blend of salsa and boogaloo among others styles. Just check out Vampi Soul’s excellent Gozalo! series to get a primer on the latin boom that took place in Peru.

This album from the late 60’s on Palacio Records features Venezuela’s legendary Federico Betancourt and his combo delivering a barrage of hot percussion, blazing trombones on a number of guarachas and boogaloos. This is a killer early salsa record with some great arrangements and instrumentation; together with some great vocals that range from the slightly deranged on the killer guaracha “El Sabroson” to the smooth delivery of a Cuban guajiro on “Guajira Boogaloo”. I’ll admit I’ve never been a big salsa head, but I’ve slowly been appreciating it more and more partly due to the rawness and sheer energy that’s inherent in the music, but also because some of these early “salseros” (check Lucho Macedo, Adolfo Echeverria, Coco Lagos…) really were real pioneers of the genre. Taking inspiration from New York and the Latin Carribean they created fresh takes on the style injecting in it their own flavors and musical history. The title track is a great example of this, as Federico’s group unloads a heavy descarga with a killer ending with my favorite instrument on the record, the trombone, and some boogaloo soul claps to give the song its “boogaloo” name. Enjoy the tunes. EB