Lost but not least! Johnny Colon – Merecumbe (Album Version) (Cotique)
‘Merecumbe’, a title that should ring a bell to those of you familiar with these shores. And even more if into Latin vibes such as the ones delivered by Los Charly’s Orchestra who gave it a boiling cover version back in 2013. A quick listen to the latter just reminds us as to how they remained true to the spirit of its original recording by the likes of Johnny Colon. Even though adding their own thing to it.
Hard to believe this Johnny Colon‘s gem saw the light back in 1972, as a part of his ‘Hot! Hot! Hot!’ album. As it keeps on sounding so fresh after all this time. Not that surprising though when speakin’ of Latin Music. ‘Merecumbe’ standing for a so to say fusion if not an acronym of Colombian Merengue and a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumbia” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Cumbia. With singer, percussionist, pianist, composer, arranger and trombone player Johnny Colon brilliantly doin’ his thing. This along with an impressive cohort of first class musicians givin’ it a unique color.
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A NYC native of Puerto Rican descent, Johnny Colon owes a lot to his mom. A modest hardworker who would have given her last Dime for her son to become someone. Colón explaining in an interview back on 1994 on the New York Times that when his mom handed him a quarter for his guitar lesson, “it was slippery with her blood.”
In return, Johnny Colon did everything he could to become someone. Graduating from Commerce High, he nevertheless found he had something to express in music. Eventually forming his own band and releasing his debut-album – ‘Boogaloo 67′ – at the age of 24. And soon after getting straight to fame with worldwide sales reachin’ 3 million units.
5 years would go before the release of ‘Hot! Hot! Hot!’ which features the outstanding ‘Merecumbe’. Colón putting out a total of 6 albums between 1967 and 1976. Then resurfacing 32 years after with ‘Keeping It Real’.
True to the words of his mom, he launched the East Harlem Music School back in 1968. This with the will to get kids away from the violence of the streets. “When I walked out of my house as a kid, I expected to have a lifetime”, he explained further on. “These kids hope to live the day. They are always looking for stolen moments. Let’s get high, let’s get something.”
Jazz pianist Hilton Ruiz studied there. As did singer Tito Nieves and Marc Anthony to name a few. Big ups, Señor Colón!
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