Raphy Leavitt


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Payaso Review

by José A. Estévez, Jr.

This was the infamous album that put Raphy Leavitt & His Orchestra on the map, and rightly so. The very humane tunes reflect intelligence, sobriety, and sensibility, and rise greatly in spite of the creakiness and obvious musical amateurishness of the band. Incredibly, Leavitt's deft compositions are the bread and butter of his daily performances to this day; he was one of the first few bandleaders to create his own repertoire. Leavitt paid close attention to topicality, something quite uncommon in early-'70s salsa; songs of wasted love, innocence, and self-reliance rose above the musically wretched productions to achieve a great following for the following three decades. The title tune (sung by Sammy Marrero) stands out as one of the most recognizable tunes ever, and is a perennial favorite of the band's fans.

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