About two weeks ago I was in Southern California visiting Joshua Tree National Park and seeing friends in Los Angeles. I always try to find time to do some record shopping while I'm down there, but I never find anything too special. This time I decided to try the swap meets. Since I was there mid-week I found myself at the Alpine Village Swap Meet in beautiful Torrance, California (pictured above). The place looked and smelled like the Oakland Coliseum swap meet which has been pretty generous to me, so I was pretty excited while walking through the spaces. Fiebre Amarilla y sus Amigos' "Super Ensalada" ended up being my favorite out of seven sealed Latin records I picked up there. Like lots of Latin records this one has one huge medley of songs on each side. I took three nice sections out of the record to share today. What amazes me about this record is it's diversity. This record goes from operatic marches to ska/calypso jams to "Blues Brothers" early rock and roll, to bossa nova, to fuzzed out surf rock, and then back to traditional Latin cumbias.
Side one opens up with a weird wedding march sung by a woman in an opera type falsetto and then goes on to cover the theme from "The Bridge Over the River Kwai". I made the executive decision to not include that for you. What I did include was a sort of "Blues Brothers"/"Big Chill" medley of early rock and roll that starts of with "Blue Moon" then goes into a kind of low rider instrumental with reverbed out surf rock guitar before launching into a short ska set that includes Byron Lee's "Jamaica Ska" complete with Spanish lyrics and "Shame and Scandal in the Family". The band then switches it up with a slower love song and ends with a quick little surf rock guitar jam before they switch it up yet again into more traditional Latin music which I left out.
The second selection also comes from the first side and captures the band as they start into another rock medley with "Rock Around the Clock", "Tutti Fruti", "What I'd Say" and "Long Tall Sally." Unfortunately, none of the songs are sung in Spanish, but you've got to love the vocal inflictions used on "What I'd Say". The band then heads into low rider oldies territory. These could possibly be actual songs from the 50's or 60's but I'm not familiar with them. Check the little drum break before "Estuve Enamorado". This selection ends with my favorite track: a cover of Them's Gloria. Unfortunately they split the track in half between the first and second side of the album.
The third selection opens up where the second selection ended. For some reason, I love this track. First of all, I'm a sucker for covers in alternate languages, but this guy's voice sounds so great through the reverb they used. After "Gloria" they head into an unremarkable version of "Hang on Sloopy", but they come back with a loungey bossa nova number called "El Pato". Watch out for that keyboard solo! I then end the selection with two more songs that should give you an idea of what the rest of the album sounds like.
I hope someone out there gets as much of a kick out of this album as I do. Super Ensalada #1 by Fiebre Amarilla y sus AmigosSuper Ensalada #2 by Fiebre Amarilla y sus AmigosSuper Ensalada #3 by Fiebre Amarilla y sus Amigos