Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Afro-Cuban All Stars - A Toda Cuba Le Gusta (1997)


While they share many of the same musicians, there is a distinct difference between the Afro-Cuban All Stars and the Buena Vista Social Club. These songs were recorded prior to the filming of the famous Wim Winders documentary. The All Stars represent 4 generations of Cuban musicians, ranging in age from 13 to 81. Part of the beauty of this music, for me, is the absence of a drum set and the improvisational style of the vocalists. Makes me wish I could understand Spanish. Also, there isn't a reliance on any one lead instrument. At different times, different instruments take the lead: piano, vocals, percussion, guitar, etc. Ry Cooder and Nonesuch records were genuises to record authentic versions of this special music before it died away. While I don't think I could consistently play this type of music, I'd love to sit in with a band like this.

Tracks: There are many sub-genres of this music and I tend to favor songs in the son style because it sounds relaxed while moving relentlessly forward at the same time (it's hard to explain). Tracks in the son style include Amor Verdadero, the title track, Los Sitio' Asere, Clasiqueando Rubén, and Elube Changó.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: For many, many years, I spent Sunday evenings at my friend Richard's home drinking beer, listening to music, and chewing the fat. During one of those Sunday evenings, this CD was playing. I'm sure I ordered my own copy the next day and started a love affair with this genre of music. This CD is a great primer on Afro-Cuban music.

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