Buena Vista Social Club is a studio album by Cuban bandleader and musician Juan de Marcos González and American guitarist Ry Cooder with traditional Cuban musicians, released September 16, 1997 on World Circuit Records. The album was produced by Cooder who travelled to Cuba to record sessions with the musicians, many of whom were previously largely unknown outside Cuba. The musicians and the songs were later also featured in a documentary film of the same name. The music featured on the album was inspired by the Buena Vista Social Club, a membership club that was at its height during the 1940s and 1950s. Many of the musicians performing on the record were either former performers at the club or were prominent Cuban musicians during the era of the club’s existence. Other younger musicians on the record trace their musical roots back to pre-revolutionary Cuban music, mainly the famous Havana musical scene of the 1950s.
Buena Vista Social Club earned considerable critical praise and has received numerous accolades from several music writers and publications. In 2003, the album was ranked number 260 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, one of only two albums on the list to be produced in a non-English speaking country.
"Chan Chan", the first song on the album, is a Cuban song composition by Compay Segundo, revolving around two central characters, Juanita and Chan Chan. The song was one of Compay’s last compositions and was written in 1987. "Chan Chan" had already been recorded by Segundo himself various times.
"El cuarto de Tula" was composed by Gonzales Y Siaba Sergio Eulogio(1916–1989). It is sung by Eliades Ochoa with Ibrahim Ferrer and Manuel "Puntillita" Licea joining Ochoa in an extended descarga (jam) section improvising lyrics. Barbarito Torres plays a frenetic lute solo towards the end of the track. Timbales are played by the 13 year old Julienne Oviedo Sánchez. The song is featured in the film "Training Day" (2001).
"Dos gardenias" is a bolero sung by Ibrahim Ferrer. The song was written by Isolina Carillo in the 1930s and became a huge success in the 1940s. The song was chosen for the album after Cooder heard Ferrer and Rubén González improvising the melody before a recording session. Ferrer learned the song whilst playing with Cuban bandleader Beny Moré.
“Y Tu Que Has Hecho” was written 1920s by Eusebio Delfín and features his friend Compay Segundo on tres and vocals. Segundo was traditionally a "second voice" singer providing a baritone counterpoint harmony. On the Buena Vista Social Club recording of "Y Tu Que Has Hecho?", he multitracks both voices. The song also features a duet between Segundo on tres and Ry Cooder on guitar.
"Veinte años" is a bolero written by María Teresa Vera and is sung on the Buena Vista album by the only female in the ensemble, Omara Portuondo with Segundo providing baritone.
"El carretero" is a guajira (country lament) sung by Eliades Ochoa with the full ensemble providing additional instruments and backing vocals.
"Candela" is a popular song written by Faustino Oramas with lyrics rich with sexual innuendo. On the album it is sung by Ibrahim Ferrer who improvises vocal lines throughout the track, and the whole ensemble perform an extended descarga.
The title track, "Buena Vista Social Club", was written by bass player Cachaíto’s father, Orestes López.The song spotlighted the piano work of Rubén González and it was recorded after Cooder heard González improvising around the tune’s musical theme before a day’s recording session. After playing the tune, González explained to Cooder the history of the social club and that the song was the club’s "mascot tune".
When searching for a name for the overall project, manager Nick Gold chose the song’s title. According to Cooder, "It should be the thing that sets it apart. It was a kind of club by then. Everybody was hanging out and we had rum and coffee around two in the afternoon. It felt like a club, so let’s call it that. That’s what gave it a handle."
- Luis Barzaga (backing vocals)
- Joachim Cooder (drums)
- Ry Cooder (guitar)
- Juan de Marcos González (guitar, vocals, percussion)
- Manuel Galbán (guitar)
- Carlos González (bongos)
- Manuel "Guajiro" Mirabal (trumpet)
- Eliades Ochoa (vocals, guitar)
- Julienne Oviedo Sanchez (timbales)
- Omara Portuondo (vocals)
- Barbarito Torres (laúd)
- Amadito Valdés (percussion)
- Alberto "Virgilio" Valdés (percussion)
- Lázaro Villa (vocals, percussion)
- Chan Chan (04:18)
- De Camino a La Vereda (05:04)
- El Cuarto de Tula (07:26)
- Pueblo Nuevo (06:07)
- Dos Gardenias (03:04)
- Y Tu Que Has Hecho (03:15)
- Veinte Anos (03:32)
- El Carretero (03:30)
- Candela (05:29)
- Amor de Loca Juventud (03:23)
- Orgullecida (03:19)
- Murmullo (03:52)
- Buena Vista Social Club (04:53)
- La Bayamesa (02:55)
Duration : 60:07 | Bitarte : 320 kBit/s | Year : 1997 | Size : 128 mb