Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Malo: Suavecito

About a month ago, my old college friend Greg Rector asked me to feature this great one-hit wonder from 1972. You may not remember the group or the name of the tune, but you will remember the song. I remember when I was at WCIR in Beckley, WV and Ron Hill played this on the air - one of the part time jocks (who shall remain nameless) said to me, "I really love that song, Mamacita." I didn't have the heart to correct her. Malo’s “Suavecito” is a beautiful tune that sadly only made it to #18 on the US charts.

Founded by Arcelio Garcia and Jorge Santana, the younger brother of Carlos Santana, Malo was a cross between Latin music and the horn bands like Chicago and The Tower of Power, Blood, Sweet, and Tears and others who were wildly popular during the early 1970s. Like Santana, they were based in San Francisco, which happens to be one of my favorite cities to visit. 

The original version of the song was love poem written by Richard Bean for a girl in his high school algebra class. Bean, the band’s timbale player, sang the lead with guitarist Abel Zarate and percussionist Arcelio Garcia adding harmonies.

You’ll notice this album version of this song is a bit different from the original single. Besides the obvious difference of three minutes in length, the bridge found in the album version was completely eliminated. It is almost a surprise to hear it for the first time. In addition, there is a real ending to this song unlike the fade on the single.

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