Mixtape Riot Menu


Diggin’ San Juan

posted by

(comments are closed)

puente_cover.jpg harlow_cover.jpg

roberto_cover.jpg bataan_cover.jpg

Tito Puente : Fancy Feet
taken from the album “On The Bridge” on TICO (1969)

Larry Harlow : Freak Off
taken from the album “El Exigente” on Fania (1967)

Roberto Roena Y Su Apollo Sound : Shades Of Time
taken from the album “2” on Fania (1970)

Joe Bataan : Make Me Smile
taken from the album “Mr. New York And The East Side Kids” on Fania (1967)

Low ceilings. Little light. Sweltering heat. Lack of oxygen. Dust. Mold. Sweat.

And VINYL. Thousands upon thousands of old dirty records. Covered in the funk of ages. I had never seen so many records in such a small, tightly enclosed area- with such a minimum of consumer traffic! At the end of an enlightening and resuscitating Caribbean excursion, I found my place of yogic peace in amongst these alleys of long forgotten Latin hits, and misses. Surrounded by the countless products of creative individuals experimenting in their respective primes, I found myself reverently calm and silent. Here were the highest hopes and reveletory dreams of multiple generations of artists, mass produced masterpieces shelved and left for dead. Sadly, I walked into this digger’s heaven only three hours before my plane was scheduled to leave from San Juan back to NYC. But it’s almost better that I didn’t end up staying in that place any longer. I’m still sneezing up black boogers, and it’s been a full week now.

Finally, the last of my plastic picks has been windexed clean and all of the covers have been scrubbed and scraped of mold. A smell lingers, but I’m pretty used to the fine scent of a nicely aged attic mold at this point. The French appreciate their cheese don’t they?

So here is a small portion of my latest dig. Some crackles and pops to be sure, but the louder you play the music, the less this interferance is noticeable. I’m in an old-school upbeat soulful mood, thus the boogaloo and shingaling over the salsa and ballads today. But there’s plenty more where these tracks came from.

Curious to find out more? Tito, Larry, Roberto, and Joe were all (and everyone but Tito remain) highly prolific and groundbreaking Latin artists… well, Larry is Jewish, but still. I actually got to see Roberto play live down in Puerto Rico and I met him afterwards. I gave him a copy of my E.P. and challenged him to find the place where I sampled him. Real mellow guy.