Antonio Gonzalez, “Sarandonga”

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 03.31.14 in Listen to This

Originating in the Catalan region of Spain in the mid ’60s, the style that became known as “Gipsy Rhumba” was actually a hybrid of several pre-existing sounds, among them flamenco, Latin rhumba and rock & roll. The resulting style was relentless and infectious — briskly-strummed guitars, locomotive rhythms and gang-group backing vocals that made every song sound like it was recorded at a party at around 3 a.m., after a full case of wine had been dutifully dispensed with. You can hear all of that in the giddily relentless “Sarandonga,” from Soul Jazz Records’ astonishing forthcoming compilation The Original Rhythm of Gipsy Rhumba in Spain, 1965 – 1974. The song swings magnificently, with Gonzalez’s big, beaming vocal out front, springing across the background soul-claps and darting between the hollered refrains like a man racing his way down a slalom on foot.

[The Original Rhythm of Gipsy Rhumba in Spain, 1965 - 1974 will be released on April 8]