Album #416 – Siembra
From the moment the first track on Siembra started, I was instantly reminded of Tito Puente’s appearance on the Simpsons and his ode to Mr. Burns.
Even though Tito Puente’s band is playing, the singing and subject matter instantly reminded me of Ruben Blades and Willie Colon’s sound on this album. Siembra was the biggest selling salsa album in history with many of it’s tracks becoming huge hits. It was like a Rumours or Born In The U.S.A. for Latin music. This album will leave you moving and grooving. It’s rhythms are infectious. But, like most Latin music on this list, there are underlying messages much like the Tito Puente song I posted above. Ruben Blades is extremely political artist. He even ran for president in Panama in 1994!! This is more prevalent that ever in the song Pedro Navaja or Peter Knife, based on Mack The Knife. It is a song about a poor panderer who is shot in New York City. It is a song that is both ironic and socially influenced, even down to the use of lines from the song America from West Side Story. The rest of the album is equally as political but, for someone who cannot understand much Spanish, all that was lost. I couldn’t sit still while listening to this album. It put me in a great mood and combined influences of the past and the present wonderfully. Ruben Blades is not only a great singer but, someone who writes what he sees. Willie Colon’s arrangements make the songs pop. Sadly, this is a quality missing from most contemporary music. If there is one thing I can learn from many of these Latin and South American artists, it is that they fought for what they believed in. Other highlights: Plastico, Maria Lionza, Ojos and Siembra. Overall, I give Siembra, 5 out of 5.
Next: The Cars by The Cars