Saturday, August 06, 2011

A discography of Guaguancó Matancero (and more rarities)

Vocalists of "Guaguancó Matancero": Esteban Lantri "Saldiguera," Hortensio Alfonso "Virulilla," Juan Mesa "Juan Bosco"

Photo credit: Vanessa Lindberg

UPDATE 1: Thanks to collector Didier Ferrand we have been able to identify labels and numbers for 5 more songs, plus we learned of one more we were unaware of: "En Opuestas Regiones."
UPDATE 2: Thanks to collector Matt Dillon we've identified 2 more songs.
UPDATE 3: Thanks to Mexico-based collector and DJ Brendan Flannery we've identified 2 more songs, and solved the "Manolo Ortega" mystery.
UPDATE 4: Thanks to collector Alex Gonzalez of we became aware of Rosy 45-018 Yamurí/Xiomara. The recordings are identical to FMR-018. This is the first I am aware of any overlap of recordings between labels.
UPDATE 5: Thanks to collector Emiliano Echeverria we have more info on Mercedita Valdés "Ya me cansé/Miénteme" Puchito 45.

This past spring, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas finished their first tour of the US in 9 years. The story of their origins is well-known: they started in 1952, spontaneously rumbeando with spoons, tables and bottles at the El Gallo bar, on the corner of Matanzas and Daoiz streets in Matanzas.

After the surprising success of "El Vive Bien," by Alberto Zayas' group, released by Panart in 1955, Jesús Gorís sought them out to record for his label Puchito. They recorded "Los Beodos" and "Los Muñequitos." The story goes that the latter song became such a big hit that audiences began shouting it out at their live shows, "Los muñequitos, Los muñequitos!" so they changed their name to Los Muñequitos de Matanzas.

The original members of "Guaguancó Matancero":
Standing (L to R): Florencio Calle "Catalino"; Gregorio Díaz "Goyito";
Esteban Vega Bacallao "Chachá"; Pablo Mesa "Papi"; Ángel Pellado "Pelladito"
Seated (L to R): Hortencio Alfonso "Virulilla"; Esteban Lantri "Saldiguera"; Juan Bosco Mesa

Discography of Guaguancó Matancero.

Most of us probably first heard the recordings of Guaguancó Matancero either on one of several vinyl versions of two LP records, "Guaguancó" (Puchito MLP565) and "Guaguancó Vol. 2" (Antilla MLP595), or on CD reissues of those. These LPs are both compilations of previously released 45s or 78s, and shared with other groups.

Guaguancó(Puchito MLP565)

As Mark Sanders has noted, the original pressing of "Guaguancó" was probably Puchito SP 103, released with a slightly different cover...

(Puchito SP103)

...and with credits properly given to the two groups, a detail which was omitted on later releases and led to much unnecessary confusion The correct attributions are:

Side 1:

Conjunto Guaguancó Matancero
1. Los muñequitos
2. Los beodos
3. Cantar maravilloso
4. Ta' contento el pueblo
5. El chisme de la cuchara
6. Te aseguro yo

Side 2:
Papin y sus rumberos
1. Tu olvido-Los Rosales (previously released on 45 as Puchito 385-A)
2. Mi quinto (previously released on 45 as Puchito 379-A)
3. María la O-La bien paga (previously released on 45 as Puchito 385-B)
4. Tani (previously released on 45 as Puchito 413-A)
5. Blancas margaritas (previously released on 45 as Puchito 444-A)
6. Yo soy cubano (previously released on 45 as Puchito 444-B)

Guaguancó Vol 2
(Puchito/Antilla MLP595)

Guaguancó Vol. 2 (Puchito/Antilla LP595) is another compilation, probably from other Puchito 78's and 45's, with only two songs by Guaguancó Matancero, despite the prominence of their name on the cover. The actual artists, as best as we can determine are:

Side 1:
1. Yo tenía una mujer - Fuico y su ritmo [previously released on 45 as Puchito 471-B]
2. El dia que naci yo - Merceditas Valdés y Coro Folklorico Cubano [previously released on 45 as Puchito 411-A, with "Papin y sus rumberos"]
3. Francicua - Papín y sus rumberos (previously released on 45 as Puchito 379-B)
4. Saludo nacional - Papín y sus rumberos [previously released on 45 as Puchito 413-B]
5. La bandera de mi terra - Conjunto Guaguancó Matancero
6. Guaguanco botao - Senén Suárez y su Conjunto Tropicana Nightclub

Side 2:
7. En este ritmo - Conjunto Guaguancó Matancero [Puchito 359-B]
8. Ya me cansé - Merceditas Valdés y Coro Folklorico Cubano [previously released on 45 as Puchito 411-B, with "Papin y sus rumberos"]
9. Un toque de bembe - Senén Suárez y su Conjunto Tropicana Nightclub
10. Guaguanco en el solar - Rene Álvarez y su Conjunto [previously released on 78 as Puchito 156]
11. Yambeque - Senén Suárez y su Conjunto Tropicana Nightclub [Puchito 120; 78rpm(?)]
12. Anana arena - Senén Suárez y su Conjunto Tropicana Nightclub

Three more recordings by the original group, or at least with the original vocal lineup of Esteban Lantri "Saldiguera" (1st voice), Hortensio Alfonso "Virulilla" (2nd voice) and Juan Mesa, "Juan Bosco" (inspirador), appeared on a 1967 French LP "Carnaval a Santiago de Cuba" (Chant du Monde LDX-A-4250), a disc with it's own complicated history, but here we'll just note the three recordings by Guaguancó Matancero (credited on the LP as "Los Matanceros" - perhaps due to contractual obligations?):

"Carnaval a Santiago de Cuba"
(Chant du Monde LDX-A-4250)

"Carnaval a Santiago de Cuba" (Chant du Monde LDX-A-4250)
1. Gloria a Cuba - "Los Matanceros"
2. La reforma agraria - "Los Matanceros"
3. 'Ta contento el pueblo - "Los Matanceros"

All three songs last well over 4 minutes, which indicates they were recorded for the Chant du Monde LP, and not previously released as 45's. (The version of "Ta contento el pueblo" is different from that on Puchito 565.)

The lyrical content of these songs suggests they were composed in 1959 ("Año de la liberación"),
1960 ("Año de la reforma agraria") and 1961 ("Año de la educación") respectively.

* * * *

For years, those were the most readily available recordings of Guaguancó Matancero, until 1999, with the CD release of "Rumba Abierta" by WS Latino (CD 4205):

"Rumba Abierta"
WS Latino (CD 4205)

This CD contained 10 tracks, all previously unavailable on LP. Unfortunately, no other discographic information was included. Apparently they were recorded by Rogelio Martínez Jr., son of long-time Sonora Matancera director Rogelio Martínez, for a label called F.M.R.

Rumba Abierta (WS Latino CD 4205)
1. Ritmo Abacuá
2. La Gitana
3. Madre, No Llores
4. Yumuri (Yamori)
5. Severa Y Lauta
6. El Enredo
7. Illabó
8. La Polémica
9. La Plegaria
10. Lamento Esclavo

A few years later Tumbao released "Los Muñequitos de Matanzas":

"Los Muñequitos de Matanzas"
Tumbao CD707

This CD collected most of the songs previously released on Puchito 565, Antilla 595, and WS Latino 4295, and added three more:

1. Oyelos de nuevo
2. Benny, adios
3. Recuerdos

The CD also includes a curious track, "Introducción por Manolo Ortega" that we aren't really sure what to make of. Manolo Ortega (1921-2003) was a popular TV broadcaster of the day. In this brief track he says, " música afrocubana...que gustosamente regalamos en este disco..." so we can assume it was released on a 45 at some point, probably post-revolution, and given its relatively short length (1:17) , possibly as a extra track on a 7-inch EP.

UPDATE: Brendan Flannery has solved the mystery of the "Introducción por Manolo Ortega" track for us. He writes:

When I saw the quote of the Manolo Ortega thing about "gustosamente regalamos" I started thinkin that rang a bell, then it came to me. Its from an LP called CUBA TE ESPERA CANTANDO, put out by Instituto Nacional de la Industria Turistica, I'd say probably 1957, 58 but maybe early period pos-triunfo. It doesn't have a record label as such, but credits Puchito, Gema, and Seeco for contributing tracks. No "rare" songs but its a cool compilation and between each song Manolo gives intro/explanation.

This CD also contains what is probably the first version of "Oyelos de nuevo," a song written to dispel rumors that the group had broken up, and that they have recorded at several other points in their career.

"De nuevo aquí tienen a Los Muñequitos
Here you have again Los Muñequitos

Ahora sí, es verdad, que aparecieron
Yes it's true, they have appeared

Aquí están..."
Here they are..."

and the chorus:

"Los Muñequitos de nuevo, hablen habladores"
Los Muñequitos again, let the talkers talk

This version is probably from 1963. It's notable that they refer to themselves here as "Los Muñequitos," when the recording was most likely released under the name "Guaguancó Matancero." This suggests that the name "Los Muñequitos de Matanzas" was in use informally before becoming official, probably when the group was re-formed in the 1970s.

* * * *

And again those were the only recordings of Guaguancó Matancero that we knew of until 2007, when courtesy of Raúl González Brito and Frankois, we found 5 more:

1. Canto para ti
2. Que te pasa, hermano
3. Chinito
4. Lo güiro
5. Tumba la caña

And from a cassette owned by Mark Sanders we got 5 more:

7. Tus promesas (in fact "Llora como lloré)
8. Omelé
9. Sacrificio
10. Lo que dice el Abakuá
11. Mira que eres linda

Recently we received three more from Dutch musician Otto de Graaf (who for his Master's thesis in 1993 wrote a pioneering analysis of rumba lyrics called "Poesía del Pueblo," available here.):

12. Por primera vez
13. No me trates
14. Xiomara

So if we consider the three tunes from the Chant du Monde LDX-A-4250 to have been released separately on LP, we get 34 titles recorded by the original Guaguancó Matancero, or 17 "singles" released on either 10" 78 rpm or 7" 45 rpm discs (or both).

Original vinyl releases of Guaguancó Matancero.Here is the list in an easy to read format. The same list follows below with photos and sound files:

Puchito 298 Los Beodos / Los Muñequitos
Puchito 309 Ta contento el pueblo / Cantar Maravilloso
Puchito 331 El chisme de la cuchara / La bandera de mi tierra
Puchito 359 Te aseguro yo / En este ritmo

F.M.R. 003 Severa y Latuá / El Enredo
F.M.R. 004 Illabó / La polémica
F.M.R. 005 Ritmo Abacuá / La gitana
F.M.R. 011 Oye mi Omele* / Mañana te espero niña - Mira que eres linda*
F.M.R. 012 Recuerdos/La Plegaria
F.M.R. 018 Xiomara* / Yamuri
F.M.R. 027 Madre no llores / Tus Promesas*

Rosy 45-018 Yamurí / Xiomara
Rosy 45-036 Que te pasa hermano* / Chinito*
Rosy 45-040 Lo que dice el Abakuá* / Sacrificio*
Rosy 45-047 Tumba la caña* / Canto para ti*
Rosy 45-053 Por primera vez* / En opuestas regiones*
Rosy 45-063 No me trates* / Lo Güiro*

Egrem 45-2685 Oyelos de nuevo / Beny, Adiós (Released in 1967 as "Los Muñequitos de Matanzas," first use of that name on vinyl for the name of the group.)

(A title marked with an asterisk * indicates it has never been released on any other format.)

Still missing are:

Lamento Esclavo
Oyelos de nuevo


Puchito (Number, Titles, Formats):

298 Los beodos / Los muñequitos (45, 78)

309 Ta contento el pueblo / Cantar maravilloso (45, 78)

[No photo available]

331 El chisme de la cuchara / La bandera de mi tierra

359 Te aseguro yo / En este ritmo (45)

F.M.R. (Number, Titles, Formats):

003 Severa y Latuá / El Enredo (45)

004 Illabó / La polemica (45)

005 Ritmo Abacuá / La gitana (45)

(click to hear "Oye mi Omelé")

(click to hear "Mira que eres linda")

011 Oye mi Omelé* / Mañana te espero niña - Mira que eres linda* (45)

(click to hear "Xiomara")

012 Recuerdos / La Plegaria (45)

018 Xiomara* / Yamurí (45)

(click to hear "Tus promesas")

027 Madre no llores / Tus promesas* (45)

Rosy (Number, Titles, Formats):

(click to hear "Lo que dice el Abakuá")

(click to hear "Sacrificio")

45-040 Lo que dice el Abakuá* / Sacrificio* (45)

(click to hear "Que te pasa hermano")

(click to hear "Chinito")

45-036 Que te pasa hermano* / Chinito* (45)

(click to hear "Tumba la caña")

(click to hear "Canto para ti")

45-047 Tumba la caña* / Canto para ti*

(click to hear "Por primera vez")

45-053 Por primera vez* / En opuestas regiones*

(click to hear "No me trates")

(click to hear "Lo güiro")

45-063 No me trates* / Lo güiro* (45)

Label, number, format still unknown:

Benny Adiós
Lamento esclavo
Óyelos de nuevo

There are now just 3 songs for which the label and catalog number are missing. Of course we need an even number of songs, so that means there is still another out there.

If anyone has any discographic information for these recordings, or knows of any others, we'd greatly appreciate hearing from you.