El Gran Combo-Innovations
Which discussion of salsa music would be complete without mentioning El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico? This is definitely one of my top favorite bands. Since they had their first performance in 1962, they have not stopped. They have been able to adapt and change with the times and styles, and their music always sounds new. Several extremely talented musicians started there and the band is known as the " University of Salsa " in some musician circles. There is not one song that I have heard by them that I do not like or even think is mediocre. The vocalists have very distinct and different voices and their skill is evident in all of the recordings. I was lucky to get to see them perform live twice.
I chose the album "Innovations" because it was the first CD of El Gran Combo that I owned. This album is one that I definitely recommend. There are 8 tracks on it.
I love the track "Juan Cabeza Dura" because of the story it tells. It is about a man who spends his money almost as fast as he earns it, without regard to paying the family bills, making sure food is on the table, and saving for the future. However, you can see him wearing the latest styles, treating his "friends" to drinks and food and partying. One day he loses his job and his friends aren't there anymore when he needs them.
"Camino de Amapolas" is another famous song which was actually recorded again on the anniversary album. This song is fun to dance to. (Well, actually, I am very partial to this album and I think all the songs are great to dance to.)
I love the beginning of "No Me Olvides," and how it changes after the intro. This song is fun to sing along with while dancing. Try playing it while you are in the shower and sing along. Your day will go very smoothly! The harmonies are beautiful and the percussion rocks.
"Resignacion" is my favorite song on this album. A man is talking to his doctor (presumably a psychiatrist) about his problems (past due rent, bills, phone's going to be cut off, lost his job, woman and friends - for such an upbeat rhythm I just realized how depressing these lyrics are!) and he doesn't know what to do. His doctor recommends, among other things, a dose of "I don't care."
"Prosigue" is another one of my favorites. It's very uplifting. Prosigue means "proceed," as in "keep on, keepin' on." If you run into obstacles in life, you need to keep going, he who stops, never arrives. This is a great song when you are feeling down and like you are running around in circles yet getting nowhere.
"Anos," (Years), "Nunca Es Tarde" (It's never too late), and "La Loma Del Tamarindo" (The hill of the tamarind [I do not like the way this fruit tastes by the way]) are the remaining tracks on the album but instead of telling you too much about it I recommend you go out and get this album!