Saturday, 26 January 2013

Latin Percussion: From Cuba, Mr. Ramon 'Mongo' Santamaria's Feelin' Alright (1970)

Mongo Santamaria

''Feelin' Alright''

( LP Atlantic Records, 1970 )
Catalog # SD 8252

A1 Feelin' Alright (2:31)
A2 Fever (3:02)
A3 Hip-Hug-Her (2:50)
A4 Hold On, I'm Comin' (2:18)
A5 I Can't Get Next To You (2:39)
A6 Sunshine Of Your Love (3:21)
B1 Heighty-Hi (2:43)
B2 In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (3:34)
B3 On Broadway (3:14)
B4 Tracks Of My Tears (2:51)
B5 By The Time I Get To Phoenix (4:07)

Haig Adishian Cover Design
Pete Brown Composer
Jack Bruce Composer
Eric Clapton Composer
Eddie Cooley Composer
Steve Cropper Composer
John Davenport Composer
Tom Dowd Producer
Donald "Duck" Dunn Composer
Ralph J. Gleason Liner Notes
Bill Halverson Engineer
Isaac Hayes Composer
Doug Ingle Composer
Al Jackson, Jr. Composer
Booker T. Jones Composer
Jerry Leiber Composer
Barry Mann Composer
Dave Mason Composer
Lee Michaels Composer
Warren Moore Composer
Warren "Pete" Moore Composer
David Porter Composer
Smokey Robinson Composer
Mongo Santamaría Congas, Percussion, Primary Artist
Marty Sheller Arranger
Mike Stoller Composer
Barrett Strong Composer
Marvin Tarplin Composer
Jimmy Webb Composer
Cynthia Weil Composer
Jerry Wexler Producer
Norman Whitfield Composer

Format:Vinyl, LP
**Also re-issued on CD on Collectables Rec., Release Date Jul. 31, 2001
***Sleeves & original rip for the demo clips (both) by the MFS' records collection.


By Stephen Cook (AMG):
While it fits in with the glut of Top 40 boogaloo efforts that record companies pressured jazz artists to record in the late '60s and early '70s, Mongo Santamaria's Feelin' Alright does offer a more than decent program of covers ranging from Motown to "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." Santamaria and band spike the even-keeled, groove-heavy parade of horns, Latin percussion, and rolling basslines with tasty trumpet and saxophone solos and manage to recast most of these rock and soul hits as engaging and infectious Latin-a-go-go jams. Like Willie Bobo, Santamaria does a fine job of straddling the fence between soulful interpretation and limp mood music. And though attempts at reforming rock material like Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" fall a bit short, jazz-friendly tracks like "On Broadway" come out sounding worthy of Santamaria's talent. The band's lively rendition of the title track and sophisticated takes on the Sam & Dave hit "Hold On, I'm Coming" and Jimmy Webb's perennial "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" further maintain the high standard. Although a fun record to listen to, Feelin' Alright should be passed over by newcomers for more viable first-disc choices like Fantasy's Mongo's Greatest Hits and Rhino's Skin to Skin anthology.

One of Mongo's biggest records of the early 70s – and an important early side for Atlantic Records! Moving to Atlantic from Columbia, Mongo hipped things up even more – picking up on important trends in soul, rock, and the Latin underground of the time. Atlantic gave Mongo the freedom to open things up a bit more – and fill his grooves with a bit more funk, jazz, and Chicano soul than heard on earlier albums. The result is a wonderful blend of styles that crackles with electricity from track to track. Arrangements are by Mongo's longtime partner, Marty Sheller – and titles include "Hip Hug Her", "Sunshine Of Your Love", "Hold On, I'm Coming", "On Broadway", and "In A Gadda Da Vida", which is a real trip!
© 1996-2013, Dusty Groove America, Inc


''Feelin' Alright''

Biography By Richard S. Ginell (AMG):
A Mongo Santamaria concert is a mesmerizing spectacle for both eyes and ears, and even in his seventies, this seemingly ageless Cuban percussionist/bandleader could energize packed behemoth arenas such as the Hollywood Bowl. A master conguero, Santamaria at his best creates an incantatory spell rooted in Cuban religious rituals, quietly seating himself before his congas and soloing with total command over the rhythmic spaces between the beats while his band pumps out an endless vamp (a potent example on records is the hypnotic "Mazacote" available on Afro-Roots [Prestige]). He has been hugely influential as a leader, running durable bands that combine the traditional charanga with jazz-oriented brass, wind, and piano solos, featuring such future notables as Chick Corea and Hubert Laws. He also reached out into R&B, rock, and electric jazz at times in his long career. No Cuban percussionist, with the possible exception of Santana's Armando Peraza (and let's not count Desi Arnaz!), has reached more listeners than Mongo.
Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria originally took up the violin but then switched to drums before dropping out of school to become a professional musician. A performer at the Tropicana Club in Havana, Mongo traveled to Mexico City with a dance team in 1948 and then moved to New York City in 1950, where he made his American debut with Pérez Prado and spent six years trading percussive barrages with Tito Puente and performing and recording with Cal Tjader (1957-1960). Mongo's first significant recordings in America were made in 1958 for Fantasy; his second Fantasy album, Mongo (1959), contained a composition called "Afro-Blue," which quickly became a Latin jazz standard, taken up by John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, and others.
Santamaria's breakthrough into the mass market may have come as a result of a bad night at a Cuban nightclub in the Bronx in 1962. As the story goes, only three people showed up in the audience, so the musicians held a bull session in which the substitute pianist for the gig, Herbie Hancock, demonstrated his new blues tune, "Watermelon Man." Everyone gradually joined in, the number became a part of Mongo's repertoire, and when producer Orrin Keepnews heard it, he rushed the band into a studio and recorded a single that leaped to the number ten slot on the pop charts in 1963.
The success of Santamaria's cross-pollination of jazz, R&B, and Latin music on "Watermelon Man" and a string of Battle and Riverside albums led to a high-profile contract with Columbia that resulted in a wave of hot, danceable albums between 1965 and 1970. With a brighter, brassy sound propelled by trumpeter Marty Sheller's driving charts, often covering hits of the day, the Santamaria band perfectly reflected the mood of the go-go '60s, and Mongo continued to mix genres into the '70s. Santamaria then returned to his Afro-Cuban base, recording for Vaya in the early '70s, teaming with Gillespie and Toots Thielemans for a live gig at Montreux for Pablo in 1980, recording several albums for Concord Picante (1987-1990), a sole effort for Chesky in 1993 and a return to the Fantasy fold via its Milestone subsidiary in 1995. He died on February 1, 2003, at Baptist Hospital in Miami, following a stroke.

mongo 7

''I Can't Get Next To You''

Main Discography:
Afro-Cuban Drums SMC Pro-Arte 592 33 1/3 10 in. rpm phonorecord (1952)
Drums and Chants (Changó) Vaya CD 56 (1954)
Tambores y Cantos (1955)
Yambu: Mongo Santamaria y Sus Ritmos Afro Cubano (1958)
Mongo Fantasy phonorecord 3291 (1959) featuring the first recording of "Afro-Blue."
Afro Roots (Yambú, Mongo) Prestige CD 24018-2 (1958, 1959)
Our Man in Havana (1959)
Mongo en La Habana (1960) with Carlos Embale and Merceditas Valdés
Sabroso! (1960) – with tresero and composician Andrés Echeverría
Go, Mongo! (1962)
Watermelon man! (1963) (Battle Records)
Mongo At The Village Gate (1963) (Riverside Records)
El Bravo! (1964)
La Bamba (1965)
Pussy Cat (1965)
"Hey! Let's Party" (1967)
Afro-American Latin (1969)
Stone Soul (1969)
Mongo´70 (1970)
Feelin' Alright (1970)
Mongo's Way (1971)
Up From the Roots (1972)
"Fuego" (1972)
Ubané (1974) with Justo Betancourt on vocals
"Afro-Indio" (1975)
Sofrito (1976)
Amanecer (1977) – won a Grammy award
A La Carte (1978)
Red Hot (1979)
Summertime (1981) with Dizzy Gillespie and Toots Thielemans
Soy Yo (1987)
You Better Believe It (1979)
Mambo Mongo (1993)
Mongo Returns (Milestone Records, 1995)
Conga Blue (1995)
Come on Home (1997)
Mongo Santamaria (1998)

On Line:
CD Universe
Dusty Groove

Originally posted on 21/10/2007

(Demo Short Clips - not downloadables)
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