Monday, February 16, 2009

Joe Cuba, Famed Salsa Band Leader, Dies At 78

You know is so funny....I swear to you, just yesterday I visited my parents and put on some music to keep my dad (who suffers from Alzheimer's) calm for a bit while I got caught up on things with my mom. I put on "Bang-Bang" by Joe Cuba and he jumped up (he loves Latin music) and we began dancing around the living room. This song ALWAYS makes me happy and when I was growing up in East Harlem in the late 60's-early 70's, whether you were Hispanic or not, this 45 (Yeah I said it!!!) was in heavy rotation on RECORD PLAYERS (YEAH...I SAID THAT TOO!!!) in EVERYBODY'S houses!!!

We ran around Harlem singing."Awww..Beep-Beep" ..... "Cornbread, Hogmaws & Chitlins"....Lol...I always wanted to know whose kid they had in the studio when they were recording this tune....sounded like the kid was having more fun than the entire band!!! Anyway, we had so much fun dancing around the house that I left the "Boogie Down" in a very good mood with my head in a happy place....ya know?

And then I got home, got comfortable, turned on TV1 and saw this:

Salsa band leader Joe Cuba, who was known as the Father of Latin Boogaloo, died yesterday at the age of 78.

A longtime member of his band, The Joe Cuba Sextet, says Cuba died at Mount Sinai Medical Center from complications of a bacterial infection he fought for several years.

Cuba was born Gilberto Calderon in East Harlem.

His group and its signature vibraphone-fronted sound became a hit in the salsa world in the 1960s.

Cuba was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame and served as director of the International Salsa Museum in East Harlem.

Sucked all of the good mood right out of me. I was saddened to hear of his passing but glad that he left so much wonderful music in his legacy.

Please enjoy the recordings of two of MY favorite Joe Cuba songs:

The Classic Bang-Bang by Joe Cuba

And "I'll Never Go Back To Georgia" (El Pito) by Joe Cuba

“Some songs are just like tattoos for your brain... you hear them and they're affixed to you.”

Carlos Santana

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