Pepe Jaramillo – South of the Boarder

Liner Notes:
“For some years now Pepe Jaramillo has been one of the most popular artistes in Mexico, and in addition, he has performed in various cities of South America and the United States. He was born in the state of Chihuahua, that part of Mexico which contains the upper stretches of the western Sierra Madre. his love of music and his talent for playing it seem to have been inherited from his mother ; at any rate, Pepe began playing the piano when he was only four, working at first entirely by ear, but later – after he had grown up – studying at the Conservatory of Music in Mexico City. Like so many parents, Pepe’s father and mother looked on music as a hazardous career, and, while they were happy that their son should make it his hobby, they wanted him to become a dentist. To please them Pepe studied dentistry at the University of Mexico, but after a couple of years he decided this could never be his profession. As his parents insisted that he get some kind of degree, he attended the school of banking, eventually returning to Chihuahua with a degree in banking and secretarial practice.
Pepe worked for a couple of years with a British mining company, spending most of his vacation in Mexico City and, when that job finished, he went back to the capital. There a stroke of luck occurred which changed his entire life. He was having some drinks with a few friends in the bar of the Ritz, the most fashionable hotel in Mexico City, when they noticed there was a piano in the room. “Why don’t you play it?” asked his friends, so Pepe sat down and started to entertain them. “Presently the manager came over,” recalls Pepe “and asked if I was a professional pianist. “No,” I told him, “just playing for my own amusement.” When the manager asked if he would like a job performing at the hotel, Pepe thought he was kidding, but decided to keep the joke up. “Well,” he said, “if you can pay me what I want, maybe I will”. To his astonishment the manager replied, “Come in tomorrow and we’ll talk things over”.
that is how Pepe Jaramillo became a professional pianist, and for the next three years he performed at he Ritz bar. During that time he also appeared regularly on Radio and TV, as well as being in demand to accompany various singers who visited Mexico City. (He has worked with a great many of the most famous Latin-American and Spanish artists). When Pepe finally left the Ritz, it was to go into a new club – El Quid a very smart restaurant-bar, where he played right up to the moment he would like to see something of the world outside South and North America. After coming to Europe he spent a few months in Paris, then crossed the Channel and come to London early in 1958. Since then he has appeared on radio and TV in this country – including ABC-TV’s weekly ‘Sentimental Journey’ programme – and made his recording debut here with his popular ‘Mexico Tropicale’ LP. Since then he has made many successful records.”

And – a very nice grooving selection of bongo-laden, guitar strumming, piano tinkling latin rhythms they indeed are – mmmmmm – NICE !!


The City Of Westminster String Band – Latin Escapade


From 1970. Slightly disappointing selection produced by John ‘Sounds Orchestral’ Schroeder. The sports car on the sleeve is a Marcos 1600.

Albums Uncategorized

Disco Dynamite!


By rights, this anonymous album (on the notoriously mediocre Stereo Gold Award label) should be dreadful.  It’s a confused and confusing blend of early disco hits ( “The Hustle” , “Fly Robin Fly”)  and Santana-like salsa grooves (“Oye Como Va”, “Dippin’ Wet”) and yet…and yet…somehow these jaded session players sound…possessed. The grooves are stone cold in-the-pocket, the organ and clavinet riffs are smokin’ hot and even the occasional vocals are of an acceptable standard.

We may never know who the performers were, but I salute them!


The Latin Sound Of Henry Mancini


Well I wouldn’t want anyone thinking I was only listening to ‘serious’ latin jazz all of a sudden.

Albums Jazz

Getz Au Go Go


One of my colleagues featured a Stan Getz record quite recently, and here’s another one. The original Verve album was released in 1964, but this must be a repress (hence the Our Price sticker) that faithfully reproduces the original artwork and gatefold sleeve.


Recorded live at Cafe Au Go Go (the legendary Greenwich Village jazz coffehouse) this album is…unbelievably great. As Gene Lees states in the sleeve notes “…the audience was electrified. There was something about the sound which was so sure, so complete – it was as if four men had been molded into one unbelievable musical unit.”

I usually prefer my latin grooves instrumental, but actually Astrud Gilberto’s vocals are just perfect on this.


Non Stop Pepsi Party


Of course, it was sheer morbid curiosity, coupled with a weakness for ’70s cheese and brand-exploitation that compelled me to shell-out on this little MFP ‘beauty’. It’s from 1974, and features Denny Wright and the Hustlers murdering glam-stomp classics like Suzi Quatro’s “Can The Can” and Slade’s “Gudbuy T’Jane” although they sound far more confident when tackling the latin repertoire, and the instrumental version of “Something” is, for some inexplicable reason, quite listenable. And it really is ‘non stop’, no gaps between songs..except the bit in the middle where you have to turn the record over, naturally.

And if the sleeve design looks a bit familiar, its because it was pasted-up by the same chap, one David Wharlin.  When will Dave be acknowledged for his distinctive contribution to the world of ’70s vinyl sleeve design..?


Albums Uncategorized

The Ray Charles Singers – Songs For Latin Lovers


More velvety-smooth vocal latin vibes, from Enoch Light’s Command label, which I get the impression was one of the quintessential labels for stereophonic easy listening in the States, but not as well-known over here and consequently you don’t see too many of them in English bins, even when they’re UK Pye pressings like this one.

The attention to detail is sumptous, with ‘technical data’ and a booklet containing detailed recording notes, including Ray Charles’ own comments about the arrangements.

The inner sleeve also treats us to an advertisement for Pye’s Achoic Box

“…with it’s six powerful speakers facing sideways instead of forwards it produces six feet of stereo separation. These speakers, in conjunction with solid state electronics, allow the Achoic Box to exploit a room’s acoustic potentialities as they have never been exploited before. Here, with all its full bodied richness and astonishing realism, is Stereo in Depth”.



Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’77 – Night And Day


Fabulous bossa vibes from the great Sergio Mendes and his group, produced by Herb Alpert on A&M. Don’t be misled by the ’77’ in the group title, this is prime late-sixties material, vinyl in perfect condition – mine for a measly quid at the local branch of Scope. I get my bossa freak on, and someone, somewhere, with cerebral palsy, will reap the benefits of my purchase. Now that’s the sort of economics I can get with.



Edmundo Ros – Phase 4 Stereo ‘Spectaculars’

And so, after the giddy heights of Beatles mispress rarities, we return to the kind of bread ‘n butter nonsense on which this blog was founded – namely a trio of sixties latin albums from Edmundo Ros and his Orchestra on Decca’s Phase 4 Stereo series…


If you’re wondering what “+ i.m.20 c.r.” means, it stands for ‘individually monitored twenty channel recording”. This record from 1962 is the best of the bunch, I reckon, featuring such gems as, ahem, “I Came I Saw, I Conga’d”, described in the notes as “kicking every fourth beat like an angry, stir-crazy mule”.



And what exactly does ‘phase 4 stereo’ mean, anyway? Unusually, one of these records has a 12″ card insert, that describes the process in depth, with a nifty graphic (as always, click to enlarge….)


So now you know!


The Band I Heard In Tijuana


“The Swinging New Sound Of Fun For Dancing And Listening By Los Norte Americanos.

Here is the freshest sound to come along in the last ten years of popular music. The sound of the mariachi trumpet combined with a little dixieland, jazz and go-go beat. Born in the garish and colourful border town of Tijuana, Mexico where anything can happen, and usually does, this music has a gaiety that will spread it around the world. “

Released on Marble Arch Records in 1966, presumably this was the sound of choice for those cats who were too cool for The Beatles “Revolver”.  Must admit, I do like a little blast of Tijuana music every now and then, probably due to early exposure via Test Card muzak on the telly. I shall endeavour to post a few more examples in future…