Juaneco y Su Combo hold a special place for many of us. The band is one of the many ubiquitous artists in many a Latino fiesta alongside El General, La Sonora Dinamita, Vicente Fernández, and others that our family members got down to. Play the opening lick to “Lamento En La Selva,” “Ya Se Ha Muerto Mi Abuelo,” or “Linda Nena” and the immediate reaction will always be the same: beers lifted toward the sky with heads nodding in approval, a few cheers and applause, and, of course, dancing!
The band is one of Peru’s 20th century musical treasures and is one of the most recognizable artists of Peruvian cumbia, a.k.a. jungle cumbia a.k.a. chicha. Throughout their career, they rewrote and re-recorded a number of their early jams for a variety of reasons and most of these remastered versions became the popular versions everyone boogies to. These earlier songs were lost for many years (suspenseful pause) until now! The music lovers at The Vital Record got their hands on Juaneco y Su Combo’s very first record, plus a few singles, and will release them all under one album, The Birth of Jungle Cumbia.
The album collects every song Juaneco y Su Combo recorded at the Lima-based IMSA label between 1970 and 1972, all in their original, unremastered glory. A few of the songs are the original versions of popular tracks such as “El Llanto De Ayaymama,” which features a guitar sound that’s rawer than any version that came after it, and “Caballito Nocturno,” with its universally recognized organ line.
Other songs, however, were doomed to obscurity were it not for this compilation. “El Forastero,” is one of the long-forgotten early songs of Juaneco. The song was never re-recorded in any way and sat in obscurity for nearly half a century. Download it below exclusively here on Remezcla before the album is released on Dec. 10th.