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In his mid-'80s, Dominican Republic-born Jose Cobles aka Puerto Plata was known best for founding the group El Trio Primavera, but has been little known in the U.S. all his adult life. This contemporary recording should change all that, and while his story might parallel the famed Cuban Compay Segundo in terms of being recognized during his golden years, Plata's music remains hopefully romantic, a bit reserved and doubtful, classy, but still with the indomitable spirit forged by wisdom, rendered by soul. Seasoned, passionate, quite capable as a guitarist, this effort by guitarist/vocalist Plata and his group speaks to the heart of traditional folkloric music from his homeland, with typical themes spiced up just a bit by laid-back rhythms and only occasionally a sense of remorse. Fellow guitarists Edilio Paredes and Pablo Rosario play lead melodies while Plata strums along with bassist Samuel Paredes and bongo player Raul Bier to keep the beats pleasant, stirring, and consistent. In true troubadour fashion, Plata croons the cute and sweet "Mujer Perjura" in a bluesy way, expresses an emotion similar to the famed Jim Reeves pop song "He'll Have to Go" during the expression of being too late on "Brisa de la Tarde," is ultimately suave on the title track, and jumps into a cha-cha or clave rhythm in the steady pace of "Lobaton." The ensemble is hopped up on the energetic "Los Perros," accented by three-beat percussion, and they jam out on the fast-paced "Dolores," rife with counterpoint and a chorus of singers aside Plata, both outstanding tunes. At their most deeply soulful, the group performs "Lejana Tierra" as if it were made specifically for them, steeped in old world custom, coming straight from their hearts. There's a version of the ever-famous "Guantanamera" that features an improvised introduction, and the resonant chorus of voices in joyous celebration. In a bolero style, "Porque No Hay De Ser" has the band expressing ultimate desire and a wanton mood that is more implied on the other songs. For those who enjoy the acoustic tradition of southern hemisphere music, not to mention sounds inspired by intimacy, Casita de Campo should be very satisfying, and a reminder that feelings from yesteryear are still relevant in modern times.
Performance CreditsPuerto Plata Primary Artist
Pablo Rosario Guitar
Gabriel Machado Bongos
Edilio Paredes Guitar
Samuel Paredes Bass,Choir, Chorus
Robertito "La Guira" Santos Guira
Raul Bier Bongos,Tamboura
Augusto Santos Choir, Chorus
Technical CreditsSteve Fallone Engineer
David Wayne Liner Notes
Benjamin de Menil Producer,Engineer,Liner Notes