I reviewed Buena Vista Social Club over at one of the old places, and loved it, giving it 4.5 [clowns]. This album consists of a hodgepodge of tracks that were left in the vaults from that recording as well as some live tracks performed and recorded in the years since its predecessor’s release and worldwide success.
And that’s kind of what it feels like: a hodgepodge of leftovers. The album as a whole doesn’t have the cohesion of the first one. It lacks the overall direction and production that Ry Cooder brought to it. And there’s no “Chan Chan,” meaning there’s no track here that grabs you and throws you on to the bed and humps you ecstatically. The three Really Likes come close, but, I mean, they’re no “Chan Chan”…that fling was special.
Too often you’ve got songs that work but just not in a great way. “Mami Me Gustó,” with its energetic, flamboyant choruses is wonderful almost entirely throughout, and then there’s a clunker of a bass solo dropped into the middle of it. And there’s a reason songs like “Quiéreme Mucho” and “Rubén Sings” didn’t make the first album (though I don’t know if they were recorded during those sessions or afterwards), they just don’t add that much.
I’ve been hard on this disc, but it is very good. Most songs I enjoy most of, but don’t feel like they have the finishing touches put on. Though it’s quite possible that if I understood Spanish I’d hear that those touches are in the lyrics. This is very good, it’s just a tough break for it when it has to live up to the first record.
Really Like: “Bodas De Oro,” “Como Fue,” Guajira En F”
Like:“Bruca Manugua,” “Macusa,” “Tiene Sabor,” “Black Chicken 37,” “Habanera,” “Pedacito De Papel,” “Mami Me Gustó,” “Como Siente Yo”
Meh: “Quiéreme Mucho,” “Lágrimas Negras,” “Rubén Sings”
Song Notes: After the jump
- Bruca Manugua
- Tiene Sabor
- Bodas De Oro
- Black Chicken 37
- Como Fue
- Guajira En F
- Quiéreme Mucho – 1:28
- Pedacito De Papel
- Mami Me Gustó – bass solo
- Lágrimas Negras –
- Como Siente Yo
- Rubén Sings – 0:47 of scat singing