Today is for down home music. At least, this is what counts to me as down home music.
An explanation: my dad is Puerto Rican. His tastes are… varied. Things i learned from my dad were an appreciation for 50s and 60s rock, and “salsa.” Some of the first music I learned to sing along with weren’t in English, and I had no idea what i was saying, but it was fun. My father definitely hails from the land of “bigger speakers are superior” and the only day where he was allowed to blast things were Sundays.
Sundays generally entailed going to church with mom, coming home and having cafe con leche with breakfast (if I was lucky, that was funchito), and then mom would close herself in her room so she didn’t have to hear the insane volumes my dad would crank.
I would hang out with dad and essentially groove either to Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Platters, otherwise he’d throw on Isaac Hayes, otherwise he’d go back to his roots and bring out stacks of records from home. Sonora Poncena and Fania All Stars were part of growing up for me, as was Celia Cruz. I remember when Sandra got my dad all excited about the new sounds going on with Ruben Blades.
I think I made it to my first musical when I was in either kindergarten or first grade. It was around the same year that i made it to my first concert, Rita Moreno at Berkeley College of Music, followed by Celia Cruz, and not long after that Ruben Blades.
I figured it was normal for people to go up on stage at concerts and dance with the singers during some sick instrumental solos.
So… I am bringing you some down home goodness, since I’ve had a hankering for the piano that goes on in this music. Some of this is stuff I remember, some of it is stuff I’ve picked up over the years. I didn’t know that Ruben Blades sang with Fania All Stars in 1979. That makes me insanely happy.
Ruben Blades with Seis del Solar singing Buscando America… he does a lot of activist lyrics actually, and i love this tune even though the synths kill me. It’s very ballad-y, but then gets into a great breakdown that makes me giddy. Piano starts to get fun around minute 4.
“To write a son”… yeah, this is awesome. hooray for music with attitude and instructional value! Sloppy awesome piano solo around min 3.