Si, Para Usted: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba, Vol. 2
Vol. 2 follows on the heels of 2007’s fun and funky Si, Para Usted, Vol. 1. Like its predecessor, Vol. 2 is a collection of 1970s tunes mined and remastered by Canadian DJ and record producer Dan Zacks from tapes found stashed in a Havana warehouse (hidden after Castro’s Ministry of Culture took over). Once again, members of the Communist Youth Militia make themselves heard, in a band called Sonopop, doing a festive party song called “Vanguardia y Juventud.” “Safari Salvaje” is an organ-, drums- and dreamy-vocals-driven song worthy of porn-soundtrack consideration by Los Rápidos, an obscure Cuban band that won the island country’s equivalent of American Idol. Like everything else on this frozen-in-time CD, Los Caneyes’ “Suspirando por el Chikichaka” (with its wiry, distorted guitar and a lead vocalist who sounds like a smooth-jazz version of Jim Morrison) and Juan Pablo Torres’ “Y Aparecío el Trombón” (with its crew of insistent hand drummers, chorus of smooth female back-up singers and funky, agile trombone providing a busy, ’70s soundscape) are the sonic equivalents of amber-glass swag lamps, olive-green shag carpet and orange Naugahyde recliners. Sometimes, exactly the kind of funk you want.