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As stated many times elsewhere, Toño Fuentes and his successors at the label had a history of creating bands for studio recordings (some would go on to perform live) when it was felt that a certain sound was needed or a niche market could be exploited. The 1960s saw a lot of “combos” across the Latin music world, and not to be outdone, Fuentes decided to have their share. Apparently, there was just one album released under the name El Combo Loco, but it had several different covers (through reissues and licensing to other countries); the release date is not listed but it appears to be some time in the early 1960s. The arrangements on this excellent album of cumbias, gaitas, and ‘ganzos’ are by the then young maestros Julio García (who would find fame as pianist and leader of Los Diplomáticos and worked with everyone from Daniel Santos, Los Satélites, to La Sonora Dinamita), and Óscar Hernández (not the pianist from New York, obviously). The wonderful saxophone heard on the record was most likely played by Los Diplomáticos’ José “Cholo” Gallardo, García’s frequent collaborator over the years. Interestingly, both García and Gallardo were hired by Isaac Villanueva to play in the studio recordings for Wganda Kenya and Afrosound in the following decade. Keeping it all in the family, the recording sessions for El Combo Loco were under the general direction of the equally gifted Jaime Rincón “Pachanga” (Fruko’s uncle) who was said to be responsible for moments of improvisation and other interesting touches on the record, like the “concierto” concept (a cross between the ‘mosaico’ and descarga) that opens each side. Fruko’s other uncle Mario handled the engineering.

El Combo Loco Biography Gallery
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