The Cuban-born sonero Monguito is an often overlooked treasure in the extensive Fania catalog. Sporting one of the most recognizable voices in all of Latin music, Monguito aka Ramon Quian aka "El Unico" (The Unique One/The Only One, as he is nicknamed) sounds somewhat like the musical result of pinching Ismael Rivera's nose shut with a clothespin. It's not exactly the most flattering description, but not one meant to imply that Monguito is ever annoying. On the contrary, Monguito's voice is surprisingly satisfying. Much like Rivera, he embodies an earthy, pragmatic aesthetic in the tradition of the son montuno, forged in the streets of Cuba. Monguito also shows an excellent pedigree. His voice and acclaimed improvisational skills first appeared on Arsenio Rodriguez's Primitivo in 1963; he would go on to sing in the bands of Johnny Pacheco, Larry Harlow, and the Tico All-Stars, in addition to producing a string of solid cuts on the Fania label.
If you're at all in doubt as to the power of Monguito's voice, check out Lindo Guaguanco, a hot tune that finds a brazen Monguito playfully wondering if anyone can sing a guaguanco better than him. Monguito's voice is also surprisingly flexible and is easily at home on boleros such as El Ano 2000. You'll also find slight hints of charanga on No Hay Amor Sin Caridad, in addition to Monguito's humorous pontificating on the fairer sex on Las Mujeres (Women). Escuchame is an excellent melding of the street wisdom of son montuno with tinges of the polished Fania sound.