Color de Tropico Vol. 3


El Palmas Music are back with a third instalment of rare Venezuelan sounds from the '60s and '70s, a wild trip through salsa, boogaloo, garage rock, jazz, and delinquent pop. This fertile musical period has always been the focus of the Color de Trópico series, and continues to be the case on this third instalment, though it should also be noted that the tracks are getting rarer and rarer, indicative of the curatorship of DJ El Palmas and El Drágon Criollo. Color de Trópico Vol. 3 starts with Un, Dos, Tres Y ... Fuera's "Aquella Noche", a song that's fully indicative of Venezuela's coastline with the much-loved group giving a llanero rhythm a fully Afro-Caribbean makeover with pulsating bass and an electric keyboard. It possesses some of that same mid-70s vitality and need to experiment as Grupo Vaquedanus, the band of sax maestro Santiago Baquedano, and their cover of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five", here fashioned as "Toma Cinco" (recorded as Grupo Baquedanu's). Girl group Los Pájaros hit hard with a boogaloo with simple instructions. Pop stars Geminis 5 were at it too with a fuzzy ballad "Tus 16 Años", and Junior Squad injected a bit of San Francisco hippy charm into affairs with their loose adaptation of The Turtles' "She'd Rather Be With Me", retitled as "Siempre Para Ti" and sounding as rough, ready and full of youthful vim as anything made north of Mexico. On the farthest end of the pop spectrum is The Pets with their cult hit "El Entierro de Un Hombre Rico que Murió de Hambre" ("The Burial of a Rich Man Who Died of Starvation"), a true countercultural anthem that even dips into "The Funeral March" for a minute. The salsa ensembles and their big band predecessors are always an important element of any Color de Trópico compilation. On Vol. 3, you find one of the earliest salsa groups in Venezuela, Los Megatones De Lucho, who recorded a pachanga, "Yo Se Que Tu", long before salsa was even a thing. Influenced by Venezuela's very own Los Dementes and Joe Cuba's sextet, Príncipe Y Su Sexteto were one of Venezuela's most prominent salsa ensembles. On their 1969 track "San De Manique" you get a different vibe altogether, it's a creeping son with just vocals, bass, and congas for its opening minute, before really kicking into action with a twisted guitar line and wild percussion, while always retaining a raw, Afro-Latin feel. One of Venezuela's most beloved salseros, Johnny Sede, pipes up with a classic salsa, "Guararé", showing how the style had developed in just a few short years. Also features Los Terrícolas.