The excitement of the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon has passed, though not without converting more than a few people eager to hear more from that influential little island 90 miles away from us. On Ry Cooder's latest release he not only takes us back to Cuba, but he takes us back in time to futuristic Cuban lounge.
Manuel Galbán played with Ry Cooder on Buena Vista Social Club, and though there are a few echoes of that effort, the sound is far from being a "Volume 2". Instead, imagine being back in 1950's Havana, Esquivel has been born Cuban instead of Mexican, and he decides to throw in a little surfing music to complement his space-age Cuban lounge for good measure. The endeavor is a lighthearted sonic escape of guitars complemented by Cuban congas.
Steel guitar, drums and congas dominate with their seductive playfulness to set the tone on opening track "Drume Negrita". The bossa nova-inspired "Monte Adentro" features the siren sounds of Juliette and Carla Commagere, while "Los Twangueros" is as quirky as the title implies. "Mambo Sinuendo" is one of the more experimental tracks on the album combining 60's organ, Herb Alpert on trumpet along with electric bass and modern experimental riffs. "Bolero Sonámbulo, like "Bodas De Oro", is seductive, dreamy and swaying with intensity, but also more melancholic than the other songs.
Some names on this record will be familiar. Orlando "Cachaíto" Lopez on bass, the mighty Herb Alpert on trumpet, Joachim Cooder on drums and Miguel "Angá" Diaz on congas.
While the cover photo of a 1959 Cadillac certainly shows what Cuba and the U.S. shared before the Revolution and subsequent blockade, it's really Cooder and Galban's Esquivelesque version of Perez Prado's "Patricia" that sums up the album. It sounds like what a lazy summer day at the pool should look like: cocktails, smiles, bikinis and blue blue water.