Noro Morales (1911-1964)




Norberto Morales was an immensely popular pianist-composer-leader who, like his predecessor Ernesto Lecuona, both came from a family of talented musicians and wrote many of the standards of uptempo dance music. Key to his success were pride in his native Puerto Rico, lyrics by Rafael Hernandez, and doing business by handshake only, which explains the plethora of budget-label Morales LPs. (The good stuff is scarcer.) Throughout the 1940s only Machito's orchestra came close in popularity, and Morales was the act other performers went to see after their own gigs were finished.

Morales started his New York carerr with Alberto Socarras' orchestra in 1935 and made his first recordings in 1936 for Columbia. He was the first artist to record on Oller's new label Coda in 1945. His signature tune, Puerto Rican anthem, and smash hit of the 1940s, "Serenata Ritmica," was just one of many contributions to New York's leading Latin label of the day, Seeco, as well as Decca. His dance orchestra was so well-liked that annually he performed for the Harvest Moon Ball at Madison Square Garden in New York City. His albums on Tico are as notable for their creativity as his ground-breaking, pre-War music.

Buying: When an artist of Noro Morales' stature passes away, every label tries to issue his material. Typically the budget-label efforts are ubiquitous and frequently disappointing, while the great albums are more elusive. In between are 78s and always enjoyable 10" LPs on major labels.



Noro Morales 10" LPs

Rating
Mambo by Morales; Columbia CL-6311 (w/Humberto Morales)
Noro Morales & his Piano; Columbia CL-6319
7Noro Morales & his Orchestra: Favorite Rumba Rhythms; Decca DL-5128; 1949
7Noro Morales & his Orchestra: Mambo with Noro; Decca DL-5395; 1952
7Rumba with Noro Morales; MGM E-537
7Noro Morales & his Orchestra Play; Varsity 69117/Royale VLP-6002 1828 (2 different Royale jackets; Walter Winchell Rhumba, Alo Alo, Tea for Two, Tres Palabras, Rumba Fantasy, Pan Pan Pan, Junglero, Montuno in G)
7Latin American Favorites; Royale VLP-6075 (or Wright VLP-6075; Tambo, Jack Jack Jack, Temptation, El Tumbito, Lover Come Back to Me, Zambumba, Un Paquito de Amor, Vem Vem)
6Noro Morales & his Orchestra; Royale 18115 (Side 1 reissues Un Paquito de Amor, Tambo, Vem Vem, Jack Jack Jack; Side 2 may not be Morales: Words of Love, La Golondrina, Estrellita, Cielito Lindo)
8Rhumbas to Remember; Seeco SLP-1
Noro Morales & Damiron: Rhumbas & Sambas; Seeco SLP-3


Noro Morales 12" LPs

Rating
8Noro Morales Sextet: Rumba Improvisations; SMC/Pro-Arte SMC-564
Recordando Los Exitos de Noro Morales; RCA Victor LPM-1004
7Merengue a la Noro; RCA Victor LPM-1163; 1956
7Noro Morales, his Piano & Rhythm; Ansonia SALP-1272
5Noro Morales & his Orchestra: Let's Go Latin, American; RCA Vik LX-1072; 1957
6Noro Morales & his Orchestra: Lecuona's Afro-Cuban Suite; RCA Vik LX-1100; 1957
4Mambo with Morales; Columbia/Harmony HL-7039; c.1957
6Noro Morales en su Ambiente/Noro in Mood; Puerto Rico/Marvela MV-LP-98 (Puerto Rico)
6Noro Morales en La Concha; Puerto Rico/Fragoso LP-538 (w/Vitin Aviles, Nidya Souffront)
Adios Muchachos; Riverside RLP-97501
7Noro Morales & his Orchestra: At the Harvest Moon Ball; Roulette R-25045; 1958 (one samba: "Come to the Mardi Gras")
7Noro Morales & his Quintet: No Blues Noro; Tico SLP-1064; 1960
6Noro Morales: Coma Esta; Tico SLP-1068; 1961 (some Latin rock/Latin twist)
5Noro Morales: Latin Festival; Tico/Forum Circle FC-9090
6Noro Morales y Su Orquesta: Mambos y Guarachas; Decca DL-74535


Partly Noro Morales LPs

Rating
Desfile De Estrellas, Vol. 1; Decca DL-74500
5Various: Mambo For Cats; RCA Victor LPM-1063; 1955
7Various: Perfect for Dancing--Mambos; RCA Victor LPM-1067; 1955 (Tito Rodriguez, Tito Puente, Aldemaro Romero, Noro Morales, Tony Martinez, Perez Prado)
5Various: Perfect for Dancing--Sambas; RCA Victor LPM-1073; 1955
8Various: Cha Cha Cha; RCA Victor LPM-1081; 1955


Noro Morales 45s & EPs

Rating
7Piel Canela (You Too, You Too?)/Sweet Sue-Just You; RCA Victor 47-5821
6Mambos EP; RCA Victor EPA-553; 1954 (Fantasia Mexicana, Song from Moulin Rouge, Sweet Sue-Just You, Santa)
Mambo Session EP; RCA Victor EPA-556; 1954 (Piel Canela, Quien Sera, Maracaibo, Mambo Retozon)
6Maracaibo/Granada; RCA Victor 5588
5Noro Morales & his Orchestra with the Charioteers: Tremble, Tremble, Tremble-mambo rock/Easy Does It-mambo rock,; RCA Victor 47-6098
6Can't Help It-merengue/Dona Ramona-merengue; RCA Victor 47-6161
8Mambo by Morales EP; Columbia B-1715 (Mambo Riff, Mambo Loco; Side 1 Humberto Morales: Jungle Mambo, Guili Guili)
Rumbas; Paramount/Variety EP


Noro Morales 78s

Rating
Noro Morales Sextet: Silencio/Perfume de Gardenias; Coda 5074
Noro Morales, his Piano & Rhythm: Vem Vem/Carmencita; Majestic 1088
Noro Morales & his Orchestra: Un Poquito de Amor/Pan, Pan, Pan; Majestic 1167 (A-side w/Bob Johnstone)
6Noro Morales & his Orchestra: Fantasia Mexicana/Song from Moulin Rouge; RCA Victor 20-5324
Noro Morales & his Orchestra: You You You (bolero)/The Sheik of Araby (mambo); RCA Victor 20-5386
Noro Morales & his Orchestra with Danny Sutton: Cup of Joy (bolero)/Two Dreams (bolero); RCA Victor 20-5465
Noro Morales & his Orchestra: Istanbul (mambo)/Am I Blue?; RCA Victor 20-5522 (B-side vocal The Nite-Caps)


Noro Morales Film Appearances

Rating
The Gay Ranchero; 1941
Cuban Pete; 1942
Ella; 1942
Mexican Jumping Bean; 1942


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