Autumn’s crisp weather has come to be with the scent of winter’s chill just a shiver away and as we glance back at the summer that was, we look forward to the new changes, the changing of the guard at a familiar house, but speaking of houses, all are anticipating the birth of the New Stardust Ballroom in Bellmawr New Jersey (as the date of the article the grand re-opening date was changed four different times to what now appears to be 12/22/07.) And back across the Delaware River, the salsa night life has shifted gears and at some locals shifted nights to the surprise of many. And what of the most recent Philadelphia Salsa Congress, well, being that it was held at Tierra Colombiana Night Club, and the question remained as to whether it was successful or not? How long was that longest world salsa line the very next Sunday morning, two ants long, as someone stated? Wow, two questions were answered at the same time. Is this enough already? No, not really, just read these music notes to see what I mean.
Tick tock goes the clock …places change or close….and yet time still moves on
Yep, time moves on, and some things stay the same and some things move in a whole new direction.
Brasils still packs them in on Wednesday nights for 10 years in a row with the “every ready battery power” of DJ Rockswell cranking out the high octane salsa tunes.
The Atrium and La Luna still cover the 1st and 3rd Saturdays and 2nd and 4th Fridays with the hosting of salsa socials on those respective nights.
Alfie’s is still holding down the fort on Sunday nights with DJ La Clave and Lyrics is holding its’ own on Thursdays with DJ Miguel Lebron. And closing in on one year is Tuesday’s Night’s salsa haven, the Reef Caribbean at 3rd and South Sts. with your host: dance instructor & DJ: Joey Figueroa.
Everything is everything in the above part of the woods, however deeper into the forest trees are being knocked down here and there. Timmberrr!!! There goes another Latin Night….
Not the same:
Gone is the Sunday social at 18th and Walnut, the Loft has ended its’ run down in south Philly, and other places have fallen by the curbside. Such is the life of a Latin night in the Delaware Valley. New on the block are Salsa Tuesdays at Savannah 18th and Callowhill Sts. Hosted by DJ Jose Rodriguez, The quaint and petite Miami Café at 4th & South had Latin Fridays hosted by DJ Richie Rumbero, but now DJ Rico spins the tunes. Isla Verde flips DJs on Friday nights the way that IHOP flips pancakes so as of this articles release who is to say who is the DJ there,but when we last checked in, it was DJ Spanky holding down the fort. And even yours truly had been draw back into the Latin Night thing this fall every Sunday night at Mangos /Aramingo Ave at Butler St, which we made last just over six weeks. The old Egypt Night Club under a new name did a Latin Night that lasted about 4 weeks. Salsa on the Square moved further up in North Philly to Martha St & Lehigh Ave and calls itself Salsa on the Square II. Although not specializing in salsa, Tierra Colombiana reopened and revamped their awesome night club in the Olney section of Philly and the old El Dorado, just up the street from Tierra Colombiana, reopened after being closed for nearly 8 years as the CopaCubana Night Club. “Times, them there are a changing!” The Rainbow Room opened in North Philly at 5th & Jefferson as the first ever Gay Latin Night Club with various DJs on various nights.
But for me, the all time shocker is the replacement of Jose Rodriguez as the DJ at North by Northwest after hosting it for 6 years straight. Although, in prior years, rumors flew around that he would be replaced and a few DJs even confessed to me that they were offered the opportunity to take his place, but declined the opportunity to not stir the waters in the Philly Latin DJ community. Still, Jose maintained his post and North by Northwest grew in popularity via media coverage beyond websites and emails(that means television and newspaper ads to all you 21st century super computer spawned children.) Latin Bands were featured on the second Wednesday of every month and again, North by Northwest stayed very successful. Come now to the summer of 2007,
where Rocklobster announced it was switching its’ very popular Sunday Latin Nights to Wednesdays, which in itself was a shocker to us all after an 8 year run on Sunday nights, and this in turn would divide the salsa crowd by three as opposed to just by two (between Brasils & North by Northwest.) Instead, the call of the summer night, outdoors atmosphere and Rocklobster itself drew the crowd away from both Brasils & NXNW. So hard was the damage, that NXNW attempted to switch to Tuesday nights to maintain its’ survival. Still this is Philly, and once a house is established, it is kind of hard to break it away from its’ foundation and Tuesday Night’s new house on the block was the Reef Caribbean and it was firm and rooted with a steady dedicated salsa dancing crowd.
No one knows why Jose Rodriguez was replaced at NXNW, and people can only speculate the reason, however I give credit where credit is due, and Jose Rodriguez did raise a conscious awareness of Latin Music and Latin Music dancing in the Northwest section of the city. NXNW drew people from all neighborhoods far and wide to the Wednesday night hot spot on Germantown Ave for a little salsa,mambo,merengue,cha cha cha, bachata and even a free dance lesson or two. And all this for $5.00 plus live salsa every second Tuesday of the month, how can you not have had a good time here? And no matter what was said about Jose Rodriguez, he was always trying to be the perfect host there, welcoming new patrons and acknowledging faithful clients by playing Latin music to try to cater to everyone’s need and as a DJ myself, even I know that is truly “mission impossible,” because to quote my good friend DJ Sugar Ruiz “you’ll always get some knucklehead who will just have heard something in his car and want you to play it the minute he walks into the social, not to dance to it mind you, but because he just wants to hear it again.” And that always throws many a DJ for a loop. To conclude this, I remember after the 8th Floor closed about 5 years ago, having had a 4 year run, Jose told me he was surprised that the 8th Floor closed its’ venture into Latin night. I just reminded him, that in the Latin Night dance arena, nothing last forever and a four year run was pretty good, but now as I look back and remember that conversation, he surpassed that four year run with a six year stint at North by Northwest. Longevity is a true rarity in the Latin dance scene/night club/salsa social atmosphere. I remember people telling me, that dances at the Harbour League, the NJ Aquarium, the Officers’ Club, the Star Dust in Pennsauken and other places that peopled had declared the “Rome” for salsa dancing have since come and gone . I DJ-ed four years straight at the Blue Moon down at 4th & Market in the Bourse and swore up and down that the place would have to be blown up before Latin night would end there, and lo and behold the lease was up and so was the Blue Moon and its’ Latin Thursdays. Time goes on, some things remain the same and some things change. What are you going to do? Just go with the flow and take that cross body lead somewhere else, like you normally do every time a Latin night closes down or adds a wrinkle that you may not like.
A new, yet old, source to run the race….
DJ seek all places to find the awesome salsa music that gets you onto the dance floor, the internet, your local record store and even fellow DJs, but now some DJs are finding a new resource for those hot salsa tunes, vinyl LPs. What are those vinyl LPs? Well, for you 21st century internet bred folks, they are the round 12 inch discs that were played on something called a record player, or a little further into later part of the 20th century, a stereo record player. Yep, way before CDs, mini CDs, cassette tapes and even 8 tracks, there were vinyl LPs. Some DJs are discovering this array of buried treasure by heading to thrift stores, flea markets and last, but truly the greatest of all places to seek these gems of awesome salsa music, the record collectors’ shows, which are now held yearly in Miami, Florida and New York City, New York in the fall season. Yes, the hunt is on for those rare treasures, which, by the way, don’t come cheap. You can pay anywhere from $1.00 to $1000.00 for a rare and classic LP. Are some worth the price? Well that depends on how different you want to sound as compare to DJ Joe Smo’ who gets his music from the DJ record pool, the record stores and maybe even via the internet at places like www.descarga.com, www.prodland.com and etc, etc.
And yes there are a few CD compilations out there that may have a few of the rare salsa tunes yet to be released with the rest of the songs from their original LP. Having the rare tunes on CD compilations is definitely not the same as finding that treasured LP. I’ve seen compilations of Federico y Su Combo Latino, but many of his rare LPs songs are not on them, like his version of “Oigan Companero” from his LP “Durisimo.” There are artists like Alfredo Linares, Los Dementes, El Combo Moderno, Porfi Jimenez, Joey Aponte, La Fuerza Latina, La Fuerza Mayor,Enrique Lynch,Tono Castro y La Perfecta De Puerto Rico, Los Afroins, Orquesta Caribe, Wito Velez and about 3000 more who have yet to be recorded onto CD.
Here is a short list of songs that you may never find in any compilations and are probable, no, without a doubt are some of the “most wickedest tunes” you may not get to hear at any Latin Night Club, Salsa Social or Salsa Congress:
1. Alfredo Linares – Descarga Linares
2. Porfi Jimenez- “Ya Tu Veras”
3. Porfi Jimenez- El Exocista
4. GIL Suarez & His Hi-Latins –Melao
5. Integracion Portena- El Clavel y La Rosa
6. Coca y Su Exploradores- El Bochinchero
7. Anibal Lopez- Dictando Catedra
8. El Combo Moderno- Guaguanco De Bayamon
9. Combo Miami Brass – La Prison
10. Grupo ABC –Tambo Rebelde
11. Grupo ABC- 100% Borinquen
12. Conjunto Sensacion- El Cuchifritero
13. Orquesta Caribe- No Te Voy a Querer
14. Orquesta Borinquen – Mi Guaguanco
15. Orquesta Nater- Hasta El Cuello
16. Tono Castro y La Perfecta De Puerto Rico – Soledad
17. Wito Velez- Danilo
18. La Creacion- Mi Martillo
19. Combo Creacion – Cali Puerto Querido
20. Sexteto Juventud – Sonerito
21. Orquesta Sabor y Control – El Bravo
22. Tentacion Latina – Siempre Voy Pa’lante
23. Orquesta Salsa Suprema- Que Corto Es el Amor
24. Louie Ramirez- El Loco
25. Carmelo Ponce- Te Doy Sabor
26. Javier Vasquez –Dos Amigos
27. Javier Vasquez –Verdadero Son(the version with Frankie Vasquez on vocals)
28. Sexteto Fantasia –Estamos En Algo
29. Sexteto Caracas- Rico Guanguanco
30. Wito Gonzalez- Asi Soy Yo
31. Dimension Latina- Crocante Habanero
32. Federico Y Su Combo Latino- Oigan Companeros
33. Bocana Magia- Descarga Bocana
34. Johnny Sedes – Barlovento
35. Combo Los Yogas – Que No Muere El Son
36. Rafael Labasta – Mucho Guaguanco
37. Victor Nunez- Aprende a Bailar La Salsa
38. Chino Y Su Conjunto Melao – La Bamba
39. Socrates Lozado – La Descarga (De Las Estrellas Llego)
40. La Fuerza Latina – La Maldita
41. La Fuerza Latina – Maldita Besos
42. Chico Cervantes – Eres Falsa
43. Los Pachecos - Contestacion Al Reloj
44. Pepe Y Su Banda- Falsa
45. Hommy Sanz- Solito
46. Borinquen Orchestra – Borinquen Mambo
47. Chico Orefriche – Chico’s cha cha
48. La Fuerza Mayor – A Este Que Esta Aqui
49. Chu Linares- Tres Cosas
50. Joe Cotto – Naguabo Mambo
51. Ray Terrace- En El Barrio
52. La Perfecta- Ese Soy Yo
53. Mon Carrillo- No La Pare
54. Rey Roig- Goudin Goudo
55. Latin Dimensions- Oiga Senor
56. Ray Santiago – Lluvia
57. Grupo Tres- El Gato
58. Grupo Mango – Para Mi Gente
59. Frankie Nieves- Mondongo
60. Danny Gonzalez- Tremenda Bronca
61. La Protesta De Colombia – Aventurera
62. Los Virtuosos- Los Soneros De Ayer
63. Tabaco y Sus Metales – Sinceridad
64. Joey Aponte – Cuando Yo Muera
65. Otto Rojas – Descarga Hipica
66. David Cedeno- Pa Las Villas
67. Conjunto Chaney & Menique –Oye Mima
68. QuiQue Rosa-El Mambo Que Te Mando
69. Nati y Su Orquesta – La Enganada
70. Washington y Su Latinos – El Negro y El Indio
71. La Banda De Venezuela – Malambo
72. Latin Blues Band – Oye Mi Guaguanco
73. Don Filemon – Cumba Cumba
74. Manny Corchando - La Fresa
75. Orquesta Rivera – Esa China
76. Richie Ray – Rico Son
77. Hector Rivera – Rumbero De Ahora
78. Elias Lopes – La Vida
79. Candido – Rico Melao
80. Orquesta Colon – Asi Soy Yo
81. Orquesta Power – Dile A Tite Curet
82. Orquesta Power- Tu Historia
83. Joey Aponte – Angelito
84. Tony Pabon – Querida
85. Orquesta La Nueva – Borinquen
86. Los Kintos –Mi Guaguanco
87. Johnny El Bravo – El Mas Que Habla
88. Wladimir Y Su Constelacion – No Existe El Amor
89. Tempo 74 – Negrura Fina
90. Orquesta Crystal De Houston Texas- Se Baila En El Crystal
91. Quinto Benites- Descarga De Salon
92. Mario Ortiz – Mi China
93. Rafael Dejesus – Soy Candela
94. Joe Madrid – El Jucio
95. Yambu- Moises
96. Sexteto Armonia – El Dandy
97. Dax Pacem – Dulce
98. Ralphy Santi – Suena El Cuero
99. Orquesta La Amistad de Chuito Y Mendoza – Mundo Negro
100. Pipo Y Sus Estrellas – La Charanga De Jose
And before any all knowing DJ out there ask sarcastically the question on everybody’s mind, “But are they all songs that you can dance to?” And my response would be “Duh, you think?” Why else would I have created a list of songs that you may never hear at a Latin Night Club, Salsa Social or Salsa Congress? Obviously, they would have to be songs that you can dance. It’s a no-brainer!
I could probable list another 2000- 3000 songs because there are probable 800,000, if not more, recordings of salsa /mambo songs you (and yes, even I) may not get to hear. There are literally thousands and thousands of LPs, which to date, have not been recorded onto CD and that in itself is a big giant WOW. I remember speaking to a friend, a street DJ (as oppose to a radio DJ) who told me that he went on a website of a collector and saw an article in Latin Beat Magazine regarding a record collector /DJ who had literally thousands of LPs that the street DJ never heard of. That just goes to show you of the untapped resource of hidden salsa/mambo treasures that exist out there.
This article is not meant to insult any Salsa DJ out there, but to ignite a fire within the mind of the Salsa DJ so that he/she will look beyond the CDs on the shelves at the music store. Simply put, there is a barely tapped resource of gems that will simply leave the dancers breathless. I know this for a fact because I played most of the music from that list above at both the Philadelphia and New York Salsa Congress this past summer 2007 and had dancers coming up to me asking who was the artist or that other artist because they never heard the song before and were complimenting me on the selections played. But to play the music to receive compliments is not my mission, I would rather “wow” you and see you enjoy the song on the dance floor and hear back from you, because your dance actions speak way louder than words. Besides, my thrill at the NY Salsa Congress was when I played “Dos Amigos” by Javier Vasquez /with Frankie Vasquez on vocals and Frankie Vasquez who was there performing that Sunday night with the Frankie Morales Band, came over and asked me where did I buy that recording because he never saw it on CD, and the ditto effect came into play when I played “Salsa Lebron” which featured Frankie Morales on vocals with Orquesta Lebron and Frankie Morales was sitting close by and came over and asked me the same question.
One fellow record collector who was at the NY Congress told me he was disappointed because he thought he would hear a different array of music as oppose to the same old stuff. Another collector came back from the Stuck On Salsa Cruise, stating the music was great, but again, the same circle of songs are being played over and over.
Once again, I am not taking anything away from any DJ out there, because DJs have it hard, as I was reminded. And I am in total agreement with the statement that DJs are the heart, soul and blood of any dance event where they ARE the music source, the music pulse that keeps the event alive. Your good time is solely in their hands by what they bring to the table for you to feast on. The goal of this article as stated earlier is to revamp the thinking ways of a DJ, seek beyond the CD shelves, dig for those hidden treasure and bring a higher level of enjoyment to the dance floor and for the dancers simply by playing music they never heard before and are sure to dance to. Shovels are being handed at the next record collector’s show, so start digging gentlemen, because there is gold in them there hills!
Special shout outs to Mambo Nik from San Francisco, Ca., DJ Dustin from Norway, Efraim from Cleveland,Ohio, Richard from Allentown, Pa. and Travis from Boston, Mass. - these are all fellow record collectors and salsa purists who know the true value of those many gems that are out there and owners of some of those unearthed treasures!
That closes this segment of the El Viaje’s Music Notes so as always, support the music, buy the music and dance to the music to your heart’s content.
Keeping it all the way real, Latino style.
LA MUSICA ES PARTE DE NUESTRA VIDA Y NUESTRA VIDA ES PARTE DE LA MUSICA…
You can contact David Ortiz davidortiz@phillySalseros.com at
Copyright © 1999 phillysalseros.com djdavidortiz.com . All rights reserved.
Revised; April 10, 2005