[102] Ruben Blades and Willie Colon – Siembra

20 Mar

This disco / samba fusion album seems to capture joy in a bottle.  That the lyrics are sharp and timely social commentary is almost overkill.


The rhythm is unceasing, the horns and chants intoxicating, everything enticing the listener to move and groove.  Here is another album to which my Kindergartener can’t help but get up and dance.

During dinner.  When we want her to sit down and eat.

Everything here is slick and polished – the arrangements, the performances, the melodies which are somehow at once focused and meandering – but where this often left disco records sterile and tame, the introduction of the Latin passion and playfulness keeps Siembra fiery and fun.

Recorded in Manhattan and tapping into the 1970s New York theater scene there are unexpected, sly nods to Kurt Weil, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim here, making the whole even more irresistible to me.

But while the gentle skewering of consumerism is the thing that likely drove Siembra to become the best-selling Salsa album until the 1990s, what still shines through more than anything else is the exuberance, the sheer joy of musicians performing at the height of their craft.

I’ll be breaking this one out plenty more, especially in the hot and sticky months of the New York summer ahead.

Just not during dinner . . .

Next Week:  Blind Blake – Ragtime Guitar’s Foremost Fingerpicker

Owned before blogging? No. (10 of 102 = 10%)
Heard before blogging? No. (16 of 102 = 16%)
Recommend? Yes. (84 of 102 = 82%)


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