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Rough Guide To Latin Rare Groove Vol. 2
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On this second volume of The Rough Guide To Latin Rare Groove, we’ve gone deeper to unearth even more treats for collectors of obscure, funky, tropical dance music. While taking the ‘rare groove’ genre too seriously can get you accused of snobbery or being a nerd, there is something to be said for the thrill of discovery and sharing something new, especially if it’s old and made of vinyl (even better if it was never originally released to begin with). So proceed without shame, dear digger. Just because ‘rare groove’ owes its name to the 1980s London club scene, where it was used to describe obscure soul, funk and jazz, doesn’t mean the movement is just some passing fad or even entirely new to Latin music fans – quite the contrary. (It has also come back with a vengeance in the African, Turkish, and Brazilian categories.) There is a long tradition of ‘super-fandom’ and intrepid scholarly connoisseurship in Latin music, same as with any other genre. Especially in the world of old-school salsa, boogaloo and Latin funk, fanatic aficionados from Cali, Colombia, to Ponce, Puerto Rico – in Spanish referred to as melómanos or salsómanos – have been trying to out-stump each other with their precious, esoteric finds for decades. The current astronomical prices paid at record fairs and online auctions attest to the rabid collecting tastes of these über-fans who often hail from as far away as Japan or Sweden. So unlike the original phenomenon that was largely Euro-centric, Latin rare groove has its fair share of Spanish speaking adherents and is really a pan-cultural concern. And just as with traditional rare groove culture, musicians and DJ -producers have fostered a scene where, thankfully, it’s cool to be retro again in Latin music. This compilation has both examples – old and new; sometimes it’s even hard to tell them apart, so ‘authenticity’ is a subjective criterion best left at the door. As with our first volume, the gems here represent the multi-national and multi-genre approach within the Latin rare groove culture itself. Purposefully starting off with The New Mastersounds, a proper British rare groove funk group that could as easily be from 1968 as from today, we travel deeper to an obscure hard-driving Latin soul number from Nuyorican duo Ricardo Ray and Bobby Cruz, released in 1966 on the cult label Fonseca. This overlooked classic in the making is followed by a slew of South American scorchers from the 1960s and early 1970s from Venezuela’s Los Kenya and Nelson Y Sus Estrellas, plus Papo Y Su Combo, Carlos Hayre and Los Belking’s from Peru. Next up: the real discovery here, Conjunto Alayon, an obscure 1970s NYC salsa orchestra that sadly never madeit – or even finished its first album. Now, 35 years later, it is finally seeing the light of day, making its vinyl (as well as digital) debut. The fiery trombone solo is by a young Jimmy Bosch. We finish the collection with a rare, never before available on vinyl, Kid Gusto remix of Jungle Fire, a hot new Cuban/African/tropical funk outfit from LA.