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! Continuing on, here is my #2 pick:
2.) Grupo Irakere: “Bacalao Con Pan” (Areito, Cuba, 1974)
Grupo Irakere recorded their first LP in 1974 after being formed the previous year by Cuban piano legend Chucho Valdés and others. Their monster track “Bacalao Con Pan” (a popular Cuban meal consisting of fish with bread), has everything I could ever want from a Latin Funk song: wah wah guitar drenched in tropical humidity, ferocious horns, a pounding Latin rhythm section strong enough to kill an elephant, and able keys I would bet my life savings on.
The part of this song that really sells it for me is the breakdown where the thunderous rhythm drops out and the piano comes in loud. As soon as those drums come back in it’s pretty much game over. So hype!
Pretty well-known track, but an unmovable classic.