09 January 2008

On the TV the pundits are saying that the voters reacted to the media by voting Hillary, but Hillary won because Catholic women over 40 making less that 50K household who made up their mind over a month ago turned out and the kiddos didn’t. If anything the inevitability of Obama may have kept his supporters from getting off their butts and voting. It’s also interesting that the two main early primary states have virtually no minorities.

Caution - consumerism: I finally broke down and purchased one of those mp3 players, ‘imported’ and all that over the weekend and now I can’t hear. Also, squirrels got into my seaweed over the weekend.

I collect compilations of mid-century Cuban music and my favorite is an album called Trova Cubana that I found in El Rastro in Madrid, featuring Son by Compay Segundo and friends. Segundo became famous giving hangover cures (chicken comsommé before you drink) in Buena Vista Social Club, which also featured the uniquely talented pianist Rubén González, who got his first break playing in the 40s with Arsenio Rodriguez, the revolutionizer of Son Cubano.

Before Rodriguez left for NY in 1948 hoping to get his blindness cured he left his band in the care of trumpeter Felix Chappottín, who renamed the band Conjunto Chappottín or Chappottín y sus Estrellas. Those guys were just the tightest. Incredible! The first song heard on the Youtube video is a half minute live excerpt of the song Mentiras Criolles. The live vocals are not as good and harmonized, the many percussion elements distract from the melody, and the studio version is so well produced, but you get an idea of what’s going on and the way Chappottín took Rodriguez’ Son Montuno trumpet sections and ran with it. Check out Chappottín’s facial expression at the 3:35 mark in this video, and try not to get up and dance!

Chappottín’s grandkids have restarted his band with new albums, and they’re ok but don’t approximate the old sound in any way.. What does in the absence of a Chappottín reissue is Rodriguez’ recordings of the time which are being reissued on a number of labels. The one good song on this disc that can be downloaded easily is Cheo Marquetti’s Aprietala de Rincon, but it is the least enjoyable of Marquetti’s three songs on this disc due to stiff competition. That voice! Marquetti also got his big break with Chappottín. Also standing out here is Conjunto Casino, a Son Montuno band of the 40s and 50s and Orquestra Novedades from the late 50s.

1 comment:

Ian Keenan said...

'3:35 mark in this video' actually refers to this video: