Tito Puente

The Complete 78s, Vols. 1-2: 1949-1955

  • AllMusic Rating
    9
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by John Bush

In what is perhaps the most admirable reissue campaign in Latin music history, Emusica head Giora Breil commissioned Joe Conzo to compile and annotate a four-volume collection -- later reissued as a two-part series of box sets, each set having four discs -- from the dawn of Tito Puente's leadership of a band, a series of 156 songs recorded from 1949 to 1955 and released on the Tico label as 78 rpm records. Although Puente was recording for RCA around the same time (those sides appear on The Complete RCA Recordings, Vol. 1), these Tico songs present a far different side of the Latin maestro, and there are few parallels between the material. Where Puente was recording plentiful swing crossovers for RCA ("Tuxedo Junction" and "Take the 'A' Train" in addition to his early masterpiece "Ran Kan Kan"), his material for Tico found him keeping mostly to what his core audience in Spanish Harlem wanted to hear: plentiful hard mambos with the occasional bolero or ballad and, overall, few direct concessions to mainstream music. This was the equivalent of Duke Ellington on OKeh or Charlie Parker on Dial -- recordings for the hardcore faithful that showed a band as it existed instead of as it wanted to be sold. However, despite assumptions either way, that doesn't necessarily make this a better or worse set than the fruits of the RCA years, and indeed, for a crossover audience whose numbers usually overwhelm the core base, Puente's Tico recordings will be less familiar and even less dynamic. But the level of musicianship was high, with future heroes Mario Bauzá, Mongo Santamaría, Charlie Palmieri, and Willie Bobo heard here. The Complete 78s, Vols. 1-2: 1949-1955 is a treasure trove for Latin fans.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Tito Puente feat: Johnny Lopez 02:44 Amazon
2 Tito Puente feat: Johnny Lopez 02:52 Amazon
3 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 02:57 Amazon
4 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 02:50 Amazon
5 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:07 Amazon
6 Tito Puente feat: Bobby Escoto 02:52 Amazon
7 Tito Puente feat: Bobby Escoto 03:02 Amazon
8 Tito Puente feat: Bobby Escoto 03:04 Amazon
9 Tito Puente 02:57 Amazon
10 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:13 Amazon
11 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:04 Amazon
12 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:10 Amazon
13 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 02:50 Amazon
14 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 02:50 Amazon
15 Tito Puente 02:37 Amazon
16 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:19 Amazon
17
Esy
Tito Puente 02:54 Amazon
18 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 02:41 Amazon
19
Tito Puente 02:36 Amazon
20 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:14 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Tito Puente feat: The De Castro Sisters 02:24 Amazon
2 Tito Puente feat: The De Castro Sisters 02:57 Amazon
3 Tito Puente feat: The De Castro Sisters 03:08 Amazon
4 Tito Puente feat: The De Castro Sisters 02:31 Amazon
5 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:15 Amazon
6 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:10 Amazon
7 Tito Puente 03:08 Amazon
8 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 02:57 Amazon
9 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 02:44 Amazon
10 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:15 Amazon
11 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:13 Amazon
12 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:06 Amazon
13 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:03 Amazon
14 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 03:03 Amazon
15 Tito Puente 02:16 Amazon
16 Tito Puente 03:06 Amazon
17 Tito Puente 02:48 Amazon
18 Tito Puente 02:31 Amazon
19 Tito Puente 03:18 Amazon
20 Tito Puente feat: Vicentico Valdés 02:49 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick