Greg: For so many people in our generation, the first real glimpse of vintage Latin/Samba/Traditional Music from south of the United States border was Buena Vista Social Club. The richness and echoing soul that comes from the roots music is unlike anything I have found in modern music. The heart and the passion lives in the art form and not just in the music. When something like what Tiger’s Milk Records has done comes along it is nearly impossible to resist. But this did not end up being some pull out a box, blow off the dust, remix and release scenario. There is a lot to this.
Clay: I agree, with a lot of vintage releases, they feel like the perfunctory “well, here they are: you know ’em, you love ’em.” Peru Maravilloso was lovingly curated and the blending of Latin roots and psychedelic rock. It grabbed my attention like a fishhook to the cheek and was equally as difficult to get out of my head. It is an era that, personally, I did not know much about but piqued my curiosity about Peru’s social scene in the 1960s and 70s. The history major in me now wants to write an entire dissertation about it. I may need to be talked out of it if my family ever wants to see me again.
Greg: We’ll put a hold on your dissertation for the time being, but like the Inca temples found that strike odd similarities to those found in other parts of the world, I am in awe of not only the intoxicating rhythms but how short the bridge between this sound and sounds that were big in the rest of the world at this time truly is. I understand that may sound like this is some Peruvian recreation of surfer and psychedelic rock that was big in a defining time in music. And I cannot stress enough that this is not just some compilation of garage cover bands from around the world.
Clay: Is there that level of concern for that confusion with an album named Peru Maravilloso? While not entirely otherworldly, this compilation has no compunction crossing genres track to track or even in the same song. “La Cumbia del Pacurro” goes all Latin/Dick Dale/acid trip, “Para Chachita” has a mariachi feel with rapid fingerpicking but then the distorted steel guitar sounds take it an entirely other direction. “Meshkalina” sounds like it should have gotten airplay opposite the Mamas and the Papas back in the day. I almost hate myself for saying this, but the whole album plays as a high-brow party album.
Greg: Let’s not forget “Me Siento Feliz” which clearly nods to sounds coming out of the UK.
As a whole, you are absolutely right, Peru Maravilloso makes a great party album. But there is enough surfer rock rolling into psychedelic colors then twisting into a Latin trip that you could hit play on this in almost any situation and it would fit. More importantly, it all comes together like an awesome time capsule that makes those letters you wrote to yourself in grade school even more lame. This music stands as a reminder that a majority of today’s music has more technology, but hardly more talent.
Clay: That’s a whole other dissertation. In the meantime, I will enjoy this collection that Tiger’s Milk Records put together and look forward to future releases. If the musical archeologists over there continue with the level of care that went into this release, then I can’t wait to see what they will find next. Go grab a copy of Peru Maravilloso when it is released on November 11th and dive into some fantastic Peruvian sounds from days past.