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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mongo Santamaria - Skin on Skin (1999)


The first cold front of the season passed through yesterday so I'm hoping these Afro-Cuban tunes will take my mind away to Miami for vacation complete with Cuban sandwiches, Cuban cigars, some innocent wagering at a jai alai fronton, and maybe a mojito or three.  This is a two CD compilation from Rhino Records covering Santamaria's work from 1958 - 1995, with the exception of the years 1973 - 1986 due to licensing issues, I'm guessing.  Santamaria died in 2003 at age 85.

Cuban conguero Mongo Santamaria had such a varied career there's a little bit of everything here: Afro-Cuban, charanga, jazz, Latin, and the funky boogaloo he is most famous for.  His two big hits are included in this set: Santamaria wrote Afro Blue (made famous by John Coltrane) and his cover of Herbie Hancock's Watermelon Man that reached #10 on the pop chart in 1963.  Santamaria's only other top 40 hit, Cloud Nine (#32, 1969) is inexplicably missing.  Santamaria was an outstanding bandleader, surrounding himself with energetic musicians and letting them have at it.  There's plenty of that throughout these two discs.  This. Thing. Grooves.

And as usual, Rhino doesn't disappoint with the liner notes.  The 50 page booklet contains six (count 'em, six!) essays about Mongo and his music, detailed track info, discography, and lots of pics.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart

Tracks:  Disc One (18 songs, 75 minutes, 1958 - 1963)  Favorite tracks here are Afro Blue, Mongorama (with Cal Tjader), Guaguanco Mania, Para Ti, Bacoso, Watermelon Man, and Happy Now.

Disc Two (16 songs, 75 minutes, 1965 - 1990)  Top tracks are Summertime, Cold Sweat, Saoco, Little Angel, and Manteca.  There's nothing I want to skip on either disc, but my go-to Mongo disc remains Afro-American Latin.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  None

Previously revisited for the blog:
Afro-American Latin (2000)

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