Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mongo Santamaria - "A La Carte" (1978)

A year ago today
I started this blog with a rhodes compilation, and it's been a satisfying journey communicating with all of you folks ever since then. I want to thank all of my buddies - you know who you are - for the contributions, support, help and frequent comments that make it all worthwhile; as well as your own fantastic blogs that have allowed me to hear so much great music.

Still catching up to the some of the contributions down in the archives here, many of which don't appear elsewhere in blogland. Xerxes donated this great Mongo Santamaria album to the Mongo discography a while back, and I thought I'd bring it up to the top for your weekend dancing pleasure!

Sometimes thought of as a disco album more in the vein of albums like "Sofrito" and "Red Hot", this one's actually quite a smorgasboard of styles and is thus receiving labels here for latin, african, funk-soul, and disco - just check the range in the three previews here. After the funk efforts of "Afro-Indio" pushed him into some musical fusions, Santamaria was clearly in a period of broadening each of his bases here - in fact, a close look at his 70s work shows an almost constant vacillation between commercial latin-fusion and roots styles.

"A La Carte" is produced by Marty Sheller and William Allen, who are mostly responsible for the funk-latin fusions of his albums in this Vaya Records period. The adaptable Sheller started out as Santamaria's trumpet player, but after 1968 switched to arrangements, going on later to work with many other latin greats. Allen joined Mongo as bass player at the end of the 60s, taking on co-arrangement duties a few years before this album. He was also working a lot with Roy Ayers around this time on albums like "A Tear To A Smile" and "Vibrations", often contributing bass and arrangments, and did some great string arrangements on Sylvia Striplin's "Give Me Your Love" a few years after this.

Allen's compositions and arrangements of "Smiling Brown Eyes" and "Hey You Sexy Thing" fit the disco slots here, the latter being the best, replete with some unison vocals from Peggy Harris and Carol Woods and slap bass from Allen himself.

Flautist/arranger/composer Doug Harris contributes three numbers : "It Feels So Good" has a Mizells-meet-Bobbi-Humphrey feel; "Nada Mas" starts out as latin-jazz before the piano leads it back to latin, with Mongo letting loose on the congas; and the closer "Umbayalo" dives back to acoustic Afro-Cuban roots with an added vocal chorus.

William Allen's "Asika" (see preview at the top of the post) is a latin-jazz stormer that feels like some of the 70s New York-based funk-jazz-latin fusions that I particularly like. Arranger Marty Sheller puts together a great vocal version of Marcelino Guerra's Cuban number "Guajiro"; and finally "Bombora" is a cover of a 1970 Celia Cruz song.

Anyway, hope you enjoy this one. Give thanks to Xerxes and don't forget to check out the other Mongo albums.


1. 'Smiling Brown Eyes' - 5:08 - (William Allen)
2. 'Asika' - 3:20 - (William Allen)
3. 'Guajiro' - 5:09 - (Marcelino Guerra)
4. 'Hey, You Sexy Thing' - 4:15 - (William Alllen)
5. 'Bomboro' - 3:22 - (Zamora)
6. 'It Feels So Good' - 4:23 - (Doug Harris)
7. 'Teresa' - 2.32 - (Allen, Santamaria) 

8. 'Nada Masa' - 4:11 - (Doug Harris)
9. 'Umbalayeo' - 2:34 - (Doug Harris)


Percussion - Mongo Santamaria

Smiling Brown Eyes
Vocals - Carol Woods, Peggy Harris
Keyboards - Bill O'Connell
Trumpet - Mike DiMartino
Piano - Eddie Martinez
Lead Vocals - Héctor Aponte
Chorus Vocals - Papaito (Mario Muñoz Salazar)
Hey, You Sexy Thing
Vocals - Peggy Harris
Bass - William Allen
Lead and chorus Vocals - Héctor Aponte
Chorus Vocals - Papaito
Piano - Eddie Martinez
It Feels So Good
Flute - Doug Harris
Nada Masa
Flute - Doug Harris
Vocals - Héctor Aponte, Papaito, Olimpia Alfaro, Wilfredo "Moreno" Tejeda


Vaya Records JMVS-74
Released in 1978


Album donated by
Other albums linked in this blog are at
I Think I See the Mothership Coming, Hasta Luego Baby!, Blak's Lair, Blaxploitation Jive and Funk My Soul. Please thank them if you click through and download.



ish said...

CONGRATULATIONS on your anniversary, Simon. Your blog is a treasure, and your friendship has been priceless. You've set a new standard for music blogs in terms of providing background knowledge and information about the music and the musicians, and in weaving together musicbloggers into a mutually supportive community (where possible!). Not to mention that you're giving away some great music and making it easy to find more.

Keep up the great work!Now, off I go to repost all your rips on other blogs. (For the sarcasm-challenged, that was a bitter joke).

Anyway, on to the 2nd year of Never Enough Rhodes!

Jazzjet said...

Hi Simon,
I've been following your blog for about 6 months now and I have to say its one of the best in the blogosphere. The information and scholarship provided on each post makes it a site you can spend some time with and not just rip stuff and scarper ( as if ). Looking forward to some more great posts in the second year.

JTF said...

One year old & still going strong. Can never get enough rhodes! :)

jazzobsessive said...

Hi Simon

Happy first birthday & congratulations on a fantastic Blogsite.

I agree with all the previous comments & couldn't imagine life without "Never Enough Rhodes"

Your hard work & love of our music is most appreciated & here's to more great years/music ahead.


Anonymous said...


I hope there are many more years and releases to come..

Stay tuned!

Hanimex 3000 said...

Yep Simon, happy anniversary ! Only one year, really? What a tremendous job you have done! Congratulations.
If you have time, try to check out my radio prog tomorrow (8-9 PM french time), you'll find the link to the radio player on

el goog said...

Hi, Simon. Congrats, my friend, totally agree with Ish. glad to meet you in blogland.

Juliana Salty said...


bacoso said...

happy anniversary and heres to more misdirected bombed out emails in the night lol:)
nice mish mash of tunes on this mongo-if marty sheller's involved its gotta be a must!
Congratulations-it's all good!!!

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the comments and good wishes guys.
Haminex3000 - sorry missed the program, time difference is a litte savage! :)

nikos1109 said...


This is all about music... and they way you treat it is superb. Never Enough Rhodes is one of my favourite places in the blogsphere. Respect for your amazing work my friend. Bless you.

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the compliment Nikos, and for all your work on Funk My Soul :)

Simon666 said...

(Sorry for that exchange, those who caught it before it was deleted, comment moderation on now)

Simon666 said...

Hi guys -
New Mongo Santamaria vinyl rip posted : ”Drums and Chants” (1978, rec. 1955)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Simon

Good record.

Jazz Obsessive

Simon666 said...

New post and rip of "Mongo Magic" (1983)

Anonymous said...

Thankyou guy,blessyou

andrew embassy said...

LOVE THIS! Thanks for the awesome resource, keeping this music alive!

Cold Hawaiian said...

Why on earth was Teresa not included on the cd reissue? Was it a hidden track or something?