A few weeks back, a faithful reader of this blog asked me a seemingly simple question: “What are your top 5 Latin Funk tracks of all time?” I put some serious thought into this question, revisited many worthy records in my collection, and came up with my top five as of this moment. I tried my best to remove the rarity of certain records from my decisions and focus exclusively on the musical qualities of the songs in question, but as you can imagine sometimes the rarest shit is the best. I will be posting each of my top fives picks individually in the coming weeks, so make sure to stay tuned! Without further ado, here is my #5 pick to set things off!
5.) Leo Acosta: “Noches de Viaje” (Capitol, Mexico, 1971)
First off, huge props to DJ High-C (Rehash) from Dallas, TX, for putting me up on this killer LP, otherwise I’d still probably be sleeping on this! Leo Acosta (aka Mr. Boogaloo) was a drummer and big band leader from Michoacan, Mexico, who played on everything from Jazz to Boogaloo to Funk to Psych records. He even co-wrote THE very first Spanish language Rock song, “La Mecedora” (that’s Leo on drums). While the majority of his recorded output is in my opinion pretty bland, he released this S/T LP in the early 70s and it’s a killer from front to back! I wanted to include “Noches de Viaje” (which I like to translate as “Trippy Nights”), because it has such a laid back but solid vibe to it.
Leo holds down a banger of a drumbreak (alongside a steady rhythm guitar player) for a sophisticated horn section to get busy over, eventually making way for one hell of a keyboard player to shine. I’m very picky with my keyboards in Latin Funk tracks, especially considering that the umbrella genre of Latin music has unleashed some of the finest piano/keyboard players the world has ever known! This keyboardist does not disappoint. ¡Qué estilo!