This release presents the complete original Mongo Santamaría LP Watermelon Man! (Battle BS-96120), the 12-inch album that came after the enormous success of the single containing the title tune backed with “Don’t Bother Me No More”. Ramón “Mongo” Santamaría Rodríguez (“Mongo” is Cuban slang for Ramón) was born on April 7, 1917 in Havana, Cuba. (He died on February 1, 2003 in Miami, Florida).
He is best known for being the composer of the jazz standard “Afro Blue”, recorded by John Coltrane among others. In 1950 he moved to New York where he became an integral figure in the fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with R&B and soul, paving the way for the boogaloo era of the late 1960s. Santamaría was one of a handful of Cuban congueros (‘conga players’) who came to the United States in the 1940s and ‘50s.
MONGO SANTAMARÍA & His Orchestra:
Marty Sheller (tp), Pat Patrick (as, fl), Bobby Capers (ts, fl), Rodgers Grant (p), Victor Venegas (b), Frank Hernandez, Kalil Madi (d), Mongo Santamaria (Conga drums), Kako, Joseph Gorgas (percussion), Osvaldo “Chihuahua” Martinez (percussion & vocals).
Plaza Sound Studios, New York City, late 1962.
A2-A5 & B1-B6:
Same as above but Mauricio Smith (fl) added on A5 & B6; Ray Lucas (d) replaces Kalil Madi & Frank Hernandez.
Recorded at Plaza Sound Studios, New York City, Decemer 17, 1962.SIDE A:
01. Watermelon Man
02. Funny Money
03. Cut That Cane!
04. Get The Money
05. The Boogie Cha Cha Blues
06. Don’t Bother Me No MoreSIDE B:
07. Love, Oh Love
09. Go Got It!
10. Bayou Roots
12. Tuli Bamba
*Bonus track (B7):
MONGO SANTAMARÍA (conga drums), Louis Valizán, Marcus Cabuto (tp),
Rolando Lozano (fl), José “Chombo” Silva (ts, vln), René Hernández (p),
Félix “Pupi” Legarreta (vln), Víctor Venegas (b), Willie Bobo (timbales),
Bayardo Verlardi, Pete Escovedo (perc, vcl), Rudy Calzado (vcl). San Francisco, 1960.