Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Arsenio Rodríguez- Primitivo (1963)

Primitivo is a fantastic 1963 LP by blind Cuban guitarist Arsenio Rodriguez, self-proclaimed creator of the mambo.

Here's a pretty sweet write-up by leland, on Rate Your Music:

"Arsenio on tres, two unknown vocalists, unknown double trumpet, unknown conguero and assorted phantom percussion, unhelpful liner notes. Just a fetching cover photo of, I suppose, rural Cuba, in cheap looking color.

There are a number of brilliant early Arsenio albums---the two on Tumbao, Dundunbanza and Montuneando probably being the ones to get---and maybe those should be an interested listener's first stop. But Primitivo remains my favorite late Arsenio record.

If forced to choose between the recordings AR made after getting to the US, I'd go: Primitivo, Palo Congo (basically an Arsenio record, despite the Sabu nametag), Quindembo, Como Se Goza en el Barrio, La Pachanga, Arsenio Dice, and then the two dicey Conjunto records. I haven't yet heard Viva Arsenio! or Cumbanchando.

This 1963 recording of twelve short, punchy Afro-Cuban tunes, long after AR had moved stateside from Cuba, has fallen into the dustbin of history with nary an autopsy, but it's a belter all the way through. There's no jazz vamping to detract from the inflammatory son montunos and guajiras. It makes Buena Vista Social Club and subsequent attempts to resurrect Afro-Cuban music seem sadly pale and wheezy. I'm not saying those aren't good, but Primitivo is....well, primitivo. Sprinkled throughout are Arsenio's lightning-fast, hard-to-decipher Cubanized West African yells peppering the stew.

Personal favorites here are the rumba "Tu me engañastes, Juana," the brash son montuno, "A Gozar Mujeres," and the unusual flamenco-rumba blend "Coplas de España," in which Arsenio replicates the sound of the flamenco guitar with his tres guitar."

Mediafire Download Link: Arsenio Rodríguez- Primitivo (1963)

1. Pasion
2. Me Engañastes Juana
3. Lo Que Dice Justi - Arsenio Rodríguez, Barreto, Justi
4. Rumba Guajira
5. Coplas de España
6. Que Mala Suerte
7. Fiesta en el Solar
8. Me Equivoque Contigo
9. A Gozar Mujeres
10. No Lo Niegues
11. El Lema del Guaguanco
12. Guaguanco de Puerta de Tierra


moos said...

Thank you so much for posting this.
Arsenio is one of my heroes, thanks...

Anonymous said...

The "unknown" vocalists happens to be the late great Monguito El Unico.


Anonymous said...

It is Monguito, in his debut album. It was also recorded in the 50's not the 60's.

IgPin said...

One of my heroes too, Moos. Yeah, Anonymous; 1958 I think, Monguito on vocals, the great great Cachao on bass and I'm pretty sure that's Miguelito Cuni on vocals too. Sublime album.
btw what's the point of slagging Buena Vista (have you heard Ibrahim Ferrer's beautiful Buenos Hermanos album for example?)- just cos they're successful, I guess