Yet another essential compilation album that concentrates on the 60s-70s but this time it’s hot out of Panama on the always excellent Soundway label.
Following on from Panama! Latin, Funk and Calypso on the Isthmus 1965-75 that came out 3 years ago, the second edition is still showcasing the unique tropical sounds of the melting pot this was/is Panama.
If Los Silvertones were the stars of Vol. 1, it’s Los Superiores’ with ‘Descarga Superior’ on this one but because of the all influences on this album, it’s hard to put your finger on it. There’s Salsa, Samba, Fania, Salsoul, Nuyorican Soul, the sounds of Cuba, Calypso, a touches of reggae, flamenco, tango, psych rock, Latin jazz and anything that’s left-over, it’s from Panama! (that exclamation mark in the title is not there for nothing!)
Back in the 70s, Latin-electric guitar was Carlos Santana (in Europe anyway) but I now know that I need the funky-twang of The Duncan Brothers (is the full track on the vinyl?). And then there’s a couple of cover versions that you’ll need, The Soul Fantastics’ cover of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ and Papi Brandao Y Su Conjunto Aires Tablenos’ version of Willie Colon‘s ‘La Murga’ that starts the whole album off. Talking of which, lots of this album sounds like a Fania track and it’s rumoured that the famous label used to road test tracks in Panama before they released them in New York back in the day.
The 24 page booklet that comes with the CD has the same attention to detail as the choice of music and has some great photos. And it’s out on the same day as Nicola Conte Presents Viagem 2 from further down the coast; decisions! But if you are going to get that one first, don’t miss out on Panama! 2 and even try and make the London Launch Party on Sunday 7th June in the afternoon. If it’s going to be as hot as this weekend, it’s just going to be fantasitc, 2pm to 7pm with DJ Miles Claret (Soundway) and the first man of Cumbia, Hugo Mendez (Sofrito) at the Vibe Bar in Brick Lane.
With Panama located at one of the most significant crossroads on the planet (North to South America, Pacific Ocean-Atlantic), it’s no surprise that at the time the canal was built (and for years after), the multi-cultural workforce would transform the music of the country. Over thirty years on, it’s still a sounds like a hit (all twenty tracks!) and comes highly recommend.
Reviewed: V/A – Panama! 2 Latin, Funk and Calypso on the Isthmus 1967-77 (Soundway) Cat No SNDWCD/LP013
01. La Murga De Panama – Papi Brandao y Su Conjunto Aires Tableno (3:08)
02. Tamborito Swing – Los Silvertones (3:38)
03. Flora – Maximo Rodriguez y Sus Estrellas Paname?±as (3:49)
04. Decidete Mi Amor – Papi Brandao y Sus Ejecutivos (2:58)
05. Te Toca Tocar La Tumba – Skorpio (4:35)
06. Descarga Superior – Los Superiores (3:59)
07. No Llores Porque Me Voy – Idamerica Ruiz con Osvaldo Ayalla y Sus Conjunto (2:58)
08. Mi Bella Panama – Los Revolucionarios (Soul Revolution) (3:02)
09. Dreams (edit) – The Duncan Brothers (4:43)
10. Ain’t No Sunshine – The Soul Fantastics (3:14)
11. Ese Muerto No Lo Cargo Yo – The Exciters (3:24)
12. La Confianza – Me?±ique El Paname?±o con Bush y Los Magnificos (3:03)
13. Borombon – Camilo Azuquita (2:52)
14. Jazzy – Los Papacitos (3:00)
15. La Escoba – Alfredo y Su Salsa Monta?±era (3:19)
16. Juck Juck Pt.1 – Sir Jablonsky (4:02)
17. Love Letters – Lord Cobra y Los Hnos. Duncan (4:28)
18. Ceferino En Salsa – Ceferino Nieto (2:49)
19. Si La Vez – Ormelis Cortez con Su Conjunto Viva Guarar?© (3:27)
20. Piculina – Chilo Pitty (3:14)
Also recommended on Soundway, Nigeria Rock Special – Psychedelic Afro-rock and fuzz funk in 1970s Nigeria and Colombia! -The Golden Age Of Discos Fuentes — The Powerhouse of Colombian Music 1960-76, Nigeria Special: Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds and Nigerian Blues, 1970-1976