Latin Bugaloo: The Warner Bros. Singles


Omnivore, 2018

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Malo was and still is a West Coast Latin rock band. Jorge Santana (the brother of Carlos), Rich Bean, and Arcelio Garcia Jr. founded the seven-piece band during the very early ‘70s. They issued four albums for the Warner Brothers label during the years of 1971-1974 before disbanding. They reformed in 1981 and continue to perform to this day. Malo released seven singles during their prime and those 14 sides have been gathered together to form my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Latin Bugaloo: The Warner Bros. Singles.

Malo was a structured jam band. They tended to establish a vibe and then allow the various band members to create within the structure. Their studio albums were tight affairs that stayed within their Latin rock vision. The brass section added an extra element and gave their sound a fuller feel.

Their single releases give a glimpse of the band. Most of their studio songs were extended affairs and not usable as single releases. As a result, the chosen tracks were edited down to manageable lengths, fit for AM radio of the day. If you want to experience their original sound and intent, any of their early albums is the place to go.

"Suavecito" was their most successful single and is considered a Latin national anthem. Santana's guitar on top of the rhythm section forms the connector to their Latin roots. The brass help to make the sound unlike most of what was being released in the early 1970s. The song is one of those releases that helped to establish the era by taking basic rock ‘n’ roll and then moving it in a different direction.

Songs such as "Nena," "Midnight Thoughts," "Merengue," and "Think About Love" span their four early albums and help chronicle their career while also showing their growth as a band.

The album also clears up the lost single “Just Say Goodbye/Pana.” Always listed as a single release by the label, no copies were known to exist. It seems the single was only issued in Turkey, so it is included here.

Latin Bugaloo: The Warner Bros. Singles is a revisit to a band that approached 1970s rock from a unique perspective. If you want something a little different from this time period, then Malo may be a band for you.

Rating: B+

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