Fruko y Sus Tesos – La Memoria del Muerto / LP
"A la memoria del muerto" is Fruko y sus Tesos' second album, released in 1972, and features exclusively the soaring and soulful vocals of Cali native Edulfamid Molina Díaz, aka "Píper Pimienta", Fruko's previous vocalist Humberto "Huango" González having left after the first album "Tesura". The record is a mix of spirited cover versions and authentically Nuyorican-sounding originals with a Colombian twist, while the cover art, enhanced by an abundance of blood-red design, is quite something, featuring Píper Pimienta and Fruko dressed as gun-toting hippies doing drugs in a cemetery while a transistor radio plays. Just as eye-opening as the music is celebratory! According to Fruko, the Woodstock generation was finally making itself felt in Colombia, and they were embodying the name of the album literally, ostensibly pointing out the dangers of said drug-thug lifestyle in no uncertain terms (the police threw them out during the shoot thinking they were authentic gangsters).
Produced and engineered by Fruko's uncle Mario "Pachanga" Rincón, the album has an uncompromisingly stark, hard sound that is appealing to today's collectors of 'salsa brava' just as it was impactful on the Colombian scene when it was made at the beginning of the 1970s (very little of this type of music was produced in Colombia at the time). Unlike the first Tesos album, with a two trumpet line-up and fairly simple arrangements, this more mature recording added another trumpet and two trombones for a more robust brass attack. Additionally, instead of basic salsa, there are many different rhythms – guaguancó, bomba, plena, oriza, bolero, cha-cha-chá, descarga and Latin soul. Though Fruko's sound at this stage wore its New York, Havana and San Juan sources on its sleeve – Willie Colón, Javier Vázquez, Richie Ray to mention a few progenitors –, at the same time the album has a uniquely Colombian approach to these influences with the bounciness of coastal music like cumbia being felt throughout.