The Word: No greater exponent of Latin than Tito Puente! Dancer, drummer, composer, bandleader, hit record maker, star maker--Puente is the beginning, middle, and end of modern Latin music.
The Tico records, often minor-key "oriental" vibes-led cha cha cha and mambo jazz, are classics that never lose their appeal. With Victor he made very impressive use of RCA's resources. Put money in the hands of Puente and look out! Then came the hip Latin-soul and funky salsa records of the early 1970s. Vibes, timbales, and always impeccable sound!
As always, in New York Latin only the originals give you the sound of the original masters.
Further below: Tito Puente 45s
Links: are to artists bio/discog pages in the Hyp Records guide:
Images: accurately represent items but are not always the exact copy listed/purchased
Discount: ALWAYS try to buy more than one item at a time
Pupi Campo [w/Tito Puente]: 12 Cha Chas & Merengues; Hollywood LPH-23/Best B-506; deep groove E/E $25 -- Latin, rare; earliest recording of Tito Puente's arrangements, as this was where he got his start, and it shows!--very progressive for its day; bandleader Pupi Campo (elsewhere pictured in a straw boater hat) was very big at the start of 20th Century, North American popularization of Latin music, contemporary with Cugat, Noro Morales, and Joe Loco; Best is the East Coast affiliate of Hollywood, and the only difference is the jacket back and disc label--curiously the jacket back shows the Best version's jacket face tho this has the nearly identical Hollywood face!; Mulatas del Cha-Cha-Cha (hip), Pobre Luna, La Cruz, Yo Tengo una Muneca, Tea for Two Cha-Cha (cha cha mambo!), Quiereme, Desconsiderada, Piel Canela, El Negrito del Batey, Mi Abulito, Estasy, Bon-Boncha
[Tito Puente Presenta] Noraida: La Barbara del Mundo Latino; Tico LP-1223; white-label promo(!) E/E+ $30 -- a rare treasure for Tito Puente collectors; Puente did all the music (with one Charlie Palmieri arrangement and one by Porfi Jimenez); Noraida's somewhat like La Lupe tho better, and she was the wife of Beny More!; nicely priced--snap it up!
Tito Puente: Cha Cha Chas for Lovers; Roulette/Tico LP-1005; 1960; black/deep groove N-/E $30 (or E+/E- $25, specify) -- FANTASTIC! vital, classic/groundbreaking, rare/collectors-item recordings compiled on hi-fi 12" LP for the first time (earlier issued as rare singles and super-rare 10" LP)--one of the earliest and best Tico 12" LPs, not just one of the great Tito Ticos; everyone should have this!; Suavecito, Almendra, Prelude to Rhythm, Cha-Cha-Cha, Pare Cochero, Cha-Cha Mambo, Los Marcianos, La Palma, Al Ritmo del Cha-Cha-Cha, Todos Bailan mi Cha-Cha-Cha, Cuidado con la Mano, Goza mi Cha-Cha-Cha
Tito Puente: Puente in Percussion; Roulette/Tico LP-1011; 2nd jacket--jackhammer photo, w/liners, deep groove E-/V+ $30 (specify) -- Latin/percussion; a major classic, like Top Percussion but scarcer/more of a collectors item; essential percussion feature that broke ground and set new Latin-percussion standards for years to come; features young superstars-to-be Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, & Patato Valdes; all original tunes: Tito on Timbales, Stick on Bongo, Congo Beat, Timbales Solo, Four Beat Mambo, The Big Four, Swinging Mambo, Tito & Mongo on Timbales
Tito Puente: Puente in Percussion; Roulette/Tico LP-1011; later flexi pressing, 1st jacket, w/liners E+/N $30 (specify) -- as above but reissued in flawless shape & w/a rare revival of the 1st jacket design (blue-yellow sketch, as shown), which is a collectors item in the original (here you get the full effect but in a clean modern edition)
Tito Puente: Mucho Puente; RCA Victor LSP-1479; 1958; E/E- $15 -- one of the classic, great RCA LPs, hard to find especially in stereo, and this is the definitive, original issue (not paired with another album); Mambo Beat, The Late Late Scene, Night Ritual, Malibu Beat, Night Hawk, Lullaby of the Leaves, Son de la Loma, Duerme (Time Was), Tea for Two, Poor Butterfly, Tito's Guajira
Tito Puente: Top Percussion; RCA Victor LSP-1617; E/E S $25 -- legendary!; one side Afro-Cuban, the other NY Latin percussion in a tour de force (much like Puente in Percussion and just as essential); w/Aguabella, Mongo Santamaria, and other percussion greats; a very important, highly influential, and genuinely thrilling LP; Elequana, Bragada, Obatala Yeza, Alaumba Chemache, Oguere fadeo, Obaricoso, Four by Two (Part 1), Conga Alegre, Ti Mon Bo, Mon-Ti, Hot Timbales
Tito Puente in Puerto Rico; Roulette/Tico LP-1088; E+/E+ $50 -- scarce/highly desired LP "recorded live" (excited playing, excellent studio-quality sound, but minus the crowd sounds of later live LPs); music represents the best of all of the things TP was doing at the time (after the instrumental mambo-jazz vibes of earlier Tico), although Side 2 kicks off with "Babarabatiri," harkening back to his most smoking mambo jazz of the '50s; it's mostly very uptempo stuff; & we're very pleased with the shape of both jacket & disc
Tito Puente: Mucho Puente/Plenty Puente; Roulette/Tico LP-1115; 1964; E-/E S $25 -- Latin; one of his better ones from the mid-period Tico years in GREAT SOUND (you need the original NY pressings, as the masters were lost in 1972); New Guanguanco, Mas Bajo, Juguetes del Destino, Flamenco Mood, Y Ahora Que, Joropo Jorocon, Ban Ban Quere, A Noro Morales, El Conquistador, Carminova, Sin Nada, Pobre Corazon
Tito Puente w/Santos Colon: De Mi Para Ti (From Me to You); Roulette/Tico LP-1116; 1964; E-/V+ S $20 -- Latin/Latin jazz; as with all of Puente's from the middle Tico years, it's about top sound/production, very strong tracks, and rarity (yet we've priced it low for writing on the jacket and labels); El Agitador, Imagenes, Gua Cha Rum, Magia Negra, Vete Pa'La Luna, Llora Timbero, Apoyate en Mi Alma, El Plato Roto, Timbalito, Llora Corazon, Esperame, De Mi Para Ti
Tito Puente: Tito Puente's 20th Anniversary; Roulette/Tico LP-1151; 1967/1966; 1st/thick vinyl N-/N shrink S $50 (or 1st/thick vinyl E+/N- S $40, specify) (or 1st/thick vinyl cutout E/N- $30, specify) -- Latin soul, Latin jazz, Latin all rolled up in one of his very best LPs (overlooked bc of the title but it's GREAT and ESSENTIAL), definitely one of the hottest TP LPs on the label; Mambo a la Tito, Aqui, Algo Nuevo, Loco de Amor, Bomba de Salon, Work Song, Fat Mama (Latin-soul SMASH HIT!!!), Gozando, La Negra Leonor, Chan, Que Seas Feliz, Africana (earlier done on a great Quincy Jones LP we love mainly for this one!)
Tito Puente: Para Los Rumberos; Roulette/Tico SLP-1086; 1972; flexi E+/N S $30 (or flexi cutout N*/N S $25, specify) -- one of his smoking best from the Latin-soul era; prod. Joe Cain; Para Los Rumberos (covered by Santana!), Batuka (a Santana cover!), China, Palladium Days, Guayaba, Nina y Senora, Salsa y Sabor (with Charlie Palmieri on organ); *cutout has writing in the margins of the jacket back--the previous owner taped his LPs as he bought them, never playing the vinyl again (yeay for you)
Tito Puente: Pa'Lante!/Straight; Roulette/Tico SLP-1214; 1970; flexi cutout N/N shrink S $65 -- AWESOME!; two Latin-soul wonders (Hit the Bongo, Watchit) are legendary, stone funky killers (DJ manna, for sure) and the rest is great too; one of the scarcest and most-wanted Puente LPs; produced by Puente with A&R by Charlie Palmieri; with original inner sleeve
Tito Puente: Tito Puente and his Concert Orchestra; Roulette/Tico CLP-1308; 1973; gatefold E/V+ S $15 -- Latin soul; arranged and conducted by Joe Cain, it's one more of his great funk-era LPs, worth a lot more clean but we're punishing it for some wear/noise (not bad!); 110th St. and 5th Ave., Black Brothers, Matacumbe, Preparate Para Banarte, Picadillo, El Rey del Timbal, Mambo Diablo, Ah! Ah!, Last Tango in Paris (INSANE wah-wah guitar!!!), Ritual Fire Dance
Manny Roman: Eras--The Romantic Voice of Manny Roman; Decca DL-4879; sealed $500 -- Latin/Latin soul; produced by Richard Marin with vocals arranged by Tito Puente, it's so rare that chances are excellent it will be the last you'll find in either Tito Puente productions or the great Decca Latin-soul series (note that Manny Roman sings with Johnny Zamot and on other LPs); the title track is a bolero by Ray Barretto and it's essentially ten boleros with two Latin-soul cuts on each end by Tito Puente ("Guajira" and "Shing-a-ling en Cuarto"); the fact that it's sealed is just icing on the cake, but note that it is a factory rewrap (tiny cutout hole under the shrink)--we're happy to open and check on purchase
Pupi Campo [w/Tito Puente]: 4 Cha Chas & Merengues EP; Varsity EPV-6007; E-/E- $15 -- Latin, rare; the Pupi Campo sessions are the earliest recordings of Tito Puente's arrangements (and Tito Puente playing), as this was where he got his start, and it shows!--very progressive for its day; bandleader Pupi Campo (in trademark straw boater) was very big at the start of 20th Century, North American popularization of Latin music, contemporary with Cugat, Noro Morales, and Joe Loco; Mulatas del Cha-Cha-Cha, Pobre Luna, La Cruz, Tea for Two Cha-Cha (cha cha mambo!)
Tito Puente: Mambo on Broadway EP; RCA Victor EPB-3164; 2-disc gatefold E-/E+ $50 -- the early killer/classic; loud, proud, & a total smoker!; rare as the dickens in top shape & original/hi-fi (the 10" never is clean & the 12" reissue is rarest of all); all 8 tunes are as on the 10" LP; Ran Kan Kan, Cao-Cao Mani Picao, El Baile del Pinguino, Picadillo..
Tito Puente: The King of the Cha Cha Mambo EP; Tico EP 29; NO JACKET V+ $20 -- mambo; Ran Kan Kan, Autumn in Rome, Mambo with Me (jazz mambo), Happy Heart (not on LP!)
Tito Puente: Africa Habla/Donde Vas; promo Tico 416; E+ $15 -- "Africa Habla" is a tour de force, one of his greatest hits that you may not have heard yet but definitely should
© Hip Wax