Seth Watter, who runs an incredible freeform music blog over at Meshes of the Afternoon, recently asked if I had any plans to post some Larry Harlow, and well....who am I to disappoint?
Released not long after his famous tribute to idol Arsenio Rodriguez, pianist Harlow's Salsa was released at a time that proved critical in establishing the Fania Records reputation. Some of my favorite Harlow tunes are on here: from the jovial lament over losing one's wallet on La Cartera, to the more serious lament of No Hay Amigo, tackling the betrayal of friendship. In fact, Harlow's nickname, El Judio Maravilloso (The Marvelous Jew), originated on La Cartera as a bandmember introduces a smokin' Harlow solo, shouting "Ya viene, Larry Harlow: El Judio Maravilloso!" On Wampo, smooth horn-lines recall a ballad in the early morning bar, only to send you home with a descarga hangover on the album closer, Silencio. On top of adding to the Fania sound, Salsa took part in a brief charanga revival before the music would virtually die in the United States. Adalberto Santiago and Junior Gonzalez (who I'll be posting in the future) share vocal duties, and Johnny Pacheco contributes some excellent flute work.