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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Palo Congo

Sabu

1957

Palo Congo
Album Summary

Palo Congo is the first album by conguero Sabu Martinez, featuring Arsenio Rodríguez and his brothers Raúl and "Quique". It was recorded and released in 1957 through Blue Note Records.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.68

Votes

9507
Genres
World
Jazz

Reviews

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Wed Nov 24 2021
1

This album congo fuck itself

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Mon Oct 11 2021
3

3.5 - Some cool polyrhythmic, call-and-response folk songs. A nice palate cleanser from all the post-punk, British electronica and Neil Young.

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Wed Dec 09 2020
1

Look, I'll be the first to admit that I probably just don't "get" this. But the plain fact was this was painful to listen to. It's repetitive noise. You would have to be just REALLY into conga drums to love this album. There's a 6 minute track that's NOTHING BUT CONGAS. And the next one is a 4 minute track of MOSTLY congas broken up by random yells and loud samba whistles. On the tracks where there ARE vocals, they're off-key shrieks accompanied by extraordinarily shrill "harmonies" (if you can call them that). It's. The. WORST. Hands down. Listening to this album makes me angry.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
4

Not heard this before. Because it's an older stereo recording you get things pushed real hard left and right and I don't love that on headphones. Also being older the recording is a touch on the raw side but it suits the sound I think. I'll listen again on speakers and will probably like it more that way. In a weird way this reminds me of krautrock in it's trance like repetition and jamming. I like the textured/layered rhythm and the tendency towards chanting. It actually sounds very experimental to me yet rooted in something that feels ancient and raw. The birth of the groove. Man, can you imagine seeing this being performed live in a jazz club back in the day?

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Wed Jun 16 2021
4

This might be one of my fav discoveries via using this generator. The Cuban rhythms on congo are very intoxicating and dancy. The chanty vocals add to a very nice atmosphere. Blue Note does not miss and this is a very very very good album.

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Wed Mar 17 2021
5

Afro-cubano, muito bom, infelizmente tem poucos albuns q nao sao em ingles nessa lista...

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Wed Jan 05 2022
4

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, before In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. But Cuban. This album is 65 years old and sounds like it was recorded down in the barrio yesterday. While it seems out of place for a Blue Note record, latin-jazz ushered the way in for the Bossa Nova craze that would come in a short decade. This was a fun listen and I plan on buying this on vinyl to have a dance party in my living room.

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Sun May 08 2022
1

This is the first time I've listened to a rumba album. I sincerely hope it was the last time I've listened to a rumba album.

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Wed Feb 16 2022
5

I had to actively ignore Rudy Van Gelder's name to get on board with this one. The recording is the weakest part, at least in terms of pleasantness. There's plenty of information preserved, and the beat information in particular is of such density that I can't help but love it. I've only been affected by rhythms in this way by EDM records in the past, but this is all humans all the time. I took and left the often harsh tone elements, but there's enough variety on here to make me question the wisdom of that move.

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Fri Jan 21 2022
3

A different spin from 1001, this gives us some Afro-Cuban jams that a very much rhythmically-focused. As the name suggests, prepare for the congas. It's a nice slice from another part of the world, though the vocals leave little to be desired. It's best to consider them as part of the rhythm, with their call-and-response style that grounds the music. Overall, it's pretty simple, so it's not much to be impressed by. Sometimes a nice little album showcasing music from outside of the usual countries is all that's needed.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

Loved to dance through such a historical day

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Wed Aug 18 2021
5

holy crap, fucking amazing. super swinging' and stuff. i love the sweet syncopated rhythms, and the panning of, say, a guitar all the way to the right - which usually annoys me - is more fun than anything here.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
4

Really feeling this album. I like how you can hear all the distinct parts so clearly. The percussion feels like it's right there. Loved the guitar on "Rhapsodia Del Maravilloso."

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Fri Jul 09 2021
4

I've never fully dived into latin jazz, probably as some of the famous albums I've checked out have been a bit clean/safe/chilled sounding. This one is WILD. Lots of hypnotic drumming and chanting. Very strong roots in African traditional folk musics, with the jazz and latin sounds making this a fusion feast. Would like more in this vein please. 4*

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Thu Aug 26 2021
4

I didn’t love everything, and the vocals were especially rough at points, but some of the rhythms spoke to me on what I can only describe as a primal level. 7/10

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Fri Mar 05 2021
3

My SIL first moved over here from Cuba in the early 2000s. If you ever want to feel like cementing yourself as the most awkward white-guy dancer in a crowd, go to a Cuban party. The guy talking at the start of the 2nd track was sick. The drumming makes me want to slap a barstool for a pub conga solo

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Wed Feb 17 2021
5

Great great great! Music that makes you swing your hips and move your feet! Probably a good thing no one else was around when I listened... injuries may have occurred...

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Fri Apr 23 2021
5

this was so different than any other music I ever listen to and I loved it!

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

This is so good to listen to while working, hypnotic and energetic, a+ flow

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Fri Feb 11 2022
5

É um ótimo álbum para se sentir animado e contagiado numa noite de sexta-feira! AMEI!

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Fri Jul 29 2022
5

Enjoyed it, although it didn’t blow my mind or anything

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Wed Sep 21 2022
5

Loved the heavy reliance on percussion. The songs were driving and worth listening to.

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Mon Feb 27 2023
5

Pretty easy to get 5 stars out of me, Spanish lyrics and Latin riddimmmms. Love it. Favourite song was the first track El Cumbanchero

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Wed Mar 29 2023
5

This was a surprise! I really like the rhythm of hat record and the raw energy

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Mon Apr 03 2023
5

Years ago I tried to work my way through the 1001 albums. I didn't get far, but this was my one mind blowing discovery. Bloody love it. It's so fun and funky and summery.

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Mon Aug 07 2023
5

Like I was at a warm street party into the late hours of the night, just beautiful.

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Thu Aug 31 2023
5

RIGHT up my alley! Afro Caribbean music is the best.

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Thu Feb 15 2024
5

I haven't heard this in forever! 5 stars for the beat, random shouts and animal sounds and 5 stars for the synchronicity: I just listened to a podcast about Rafael Hernandez this morning.

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Wed Feb 21 2024
5

Yes yes yes! Already love the first song. Love having a chance to hear the whole album. Truly, this is exactly what I was hoping to find on this list. Everything about this is perfect.

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Thu Dec 10 2020
4

Pretty great. I didnt really like other cuban inspired albums (buena vista social club), but I found this one a lot more interesting.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

Delightful. Will definitely dip back into this album when I need something of this flavor

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Wed Feb 03 2021
4

Gets me hyped! Cool to know he started mambo

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Fri Mar 19 2021
4

Großartig! Solch spröde Instrumentierung und solch tiefes Verständnis von Trance. Liebe das einfach und unmittelbar mal ganz ohne theoretische Verirrung 4.4

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Fri Apr 23 2021
4

Very fun! man can drum, and the singing was fun but maybe a bit repetitive

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Fri May 14 2021
4

Spanish bongo music. Fun listen

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Thu Sep 02 2021
4

Big fan!! ONLY four because I don't know Spanish that well. Such good music production/lighthearted tunes.

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Wed Oct 27 2021
4

Very catchy rhythms and chants, with the additional instrumentation supplementing them well

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Wed Nov 24 2021
4

Great beats! Very inventive. I loved the song Simba.

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Thu Dec 02 2021
4

Good music that must have been very unusual to the American ear when it was first released

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Wed Dec 15 2021
4

Fun - hadn't heard of Sabu and this was a good listen. I'm not authoritative on this genre but it held its own with other stuff I've heard by Tito Rodriguez, Puente, etc.

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Wed Jan 19 2022
4

Kubanska salsa ili rumba je uvijek ima rezervirano mjesto u mojim u ušima.

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Wed Jan 19 2022
4

Liked it, but have to be in the mood

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Wed Feb 09 2022
4

98 albums into 1001 and this is only the 3rd non-english album, and that's being generous in considering Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express as being non-english. Is this list really that myopically focused on english language albums? This album is a perfect example of why the voices of the whole world need to be included in this list. With just some congas (I'm not even sure it isn't just one) and vocals the track 'Billumba-Palo Congo' shows the purity of Sabu's energy. While other tracks bring in one or two more instruments, the album continues on in much the same way. Each track is bare bones in its arrangement, but in no way does that compromise or undermine their ability to get your feet tapping and your hips moving. The album is vivd and proof to me that I don't need to speak the same language to appreciate the impact of good music. Perhaps more "Top X" lists need to take that into consideration.

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Fri Feb 11 2022
4

Love a good Latin jazz-type album on this list, always refreshing. Some fantastic percussion on here, and the vocals are all over the place in a good way. I especially love that albums like this are from the '50s, it just feels so timeless. Shoutout to Blue Note and whoever else took the time and resources to make albums and preserve music like this. Favorite tracks: Asabache, Choferito-Plena, El Cumbanchero. Album art: Really love this, the bold colors are great. It's a simple band photo dramatically elevated by basic framing, text, and colors. Some of these old school jazz/international music covers are fantastic. 4/5

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Fri Feb 11 2022
4

Great jazz album! At least that is how it was listed on Apple music. Felt like fusion in some moments as well, much more focus on the drums than other instruments but also singing too. I really enjoyed this one.

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Wed Feb 23 2022
4

It's hard to believe this came out in the 50s. It seems ahead of it's time.

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Thu Mar 10 2022
4

good but unremarkable afro-jazz. I enjoyed it.

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Wed Apr 13 2022
4

I'm a sucker for Latin jazz. Love the tracks with call-and-response hooks. Lot of energy. Wish it continued through the whole thing, but the bongo-solo song kind of lost me. Favorite tracks: "Billumba-Palo Congo", "Choferito-Plana"

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Mon May 09 2022
4

Very fun album! Hard not to dance. Very very raw though.

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Thu May 19 2022
4

Just a nice and good time. Some killer drum work. This Sabu fellow has an interesting pedigree. I like it!

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Thu May 19 2022
4

You can always tell when an album will be 🔥 just from the cover. Best part of this one is the first playlist recommendation on Spotify is Boogaloo Essentials

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Sun Jun 05 2022
4

Really great rhythms. Love the melodies that come from repetitive percussion. I'm also impressed to have encountered a bad stereo recording from the 50s. I didn't think that technology was available yet.

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Mon Jun 13 2022
4

Kind of slow towards the end of the album but makes great easy listening

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Mon Aug 22 2022
4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: El Cumbanchero

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Mon Sep 26 2022
4

Too interesting to review after one listen. Rhythmic, exciting, raw. Will run to it a few times to learn what it's like after a few listens. Very afro inspired Cuban drumming and singing. Liked it.

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Wed Sep 28 2022
4

Loved it. It was melodic and repetitive and chaotic.

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Thu Oct 06 2022
4

Love the exotic sound. Would love to mix the songs with some house beatc

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Thu Oct 13 2022
4

Enjoyable blue note jazz, works music stuff.

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Fri Oct 14 2022
4

Not fully my cup of tea - but it’s still a wonderful jazz virtuoso album - it’s hectic, urgent and fun - barely a moment of calm so it’s not an everyday album.

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Sun Oct 16 2022
4

Yeah this one was good at times

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Wed Oct 19 2022
4

Very cool texture. Never listened to Cubop, but I should. 4 stars

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Fri Oct 21 2022
4

Infectious rhythms everywhere. The almost raucous call and response in the vocals of a couple of tracks carries the joy the musicians seem to experience as they play. Since this appears to be an album featuring a percussion ensemble, I was surprised by the brilliant guitar playing that came along on a few of the tracks. The natural sound of an amp pushed just to breakup, and reverb of what sounds like an actual hall, gives a fullness and warmth to the guitar sound, while the playing is as ebullient and spontaneous as the percussion.

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Mon Oct 31 2022
4

8/10 fun album but I wish the instruments were more diverse a lot of those songs were basically just a drum solo going on for a long time I get that that’s their culture and their music I’m not hating on it, but they have guitar and other stuff and it sounded really cool, I think they should’ve used it more

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Fri Nov 04 2022
4

I've never thought I needed a freaking conga driven Cuban rumba for my morning but here we are.

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Mon Nov 14 2022
4

A perfect blend of ear bending splendour riding a zephyr of peace and tranquility. This tore a hole right through my mind and exposed my inner most fantasies to every inch of my quaking being. Hold the phone, Pedro, we have lift off.

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Thu Nov 17 2022
4

I always thought that not much creativity was happening in music before I was born. I suppose it's easy to fall into that trap. This album shows that Afro beats and Cuban music were being fused creating the Afro Cuban genre before I was born. That's wicked. I wonder who was listening to it? We know our parents weren't that cool.

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Wed Nov 30 2022
4

I enjoyed this jazz record. Yep.

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Wed Jan 18 2023
4

Really loved the sounds on this one. Dig me some good percussion.

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Thu Feb 02 2023
4

nice, especially "Billumba-Palo Congo".

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Fri Feb 03 2023
4

This one is ... not boring! Cubans banging on congo drums - for long periods, with some random yelling. It is not something I would've expected to find on this list, not because it isn't great, but because lists like this tend to lean towards more popular music and this is way too weird to ever be popular. Overall, I found it super interesting, raw, engaging, and cool. The rhythms are killer. This is a strange one but definitely one I will enjoy listening to again.

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Mon Feb 13 2023
4

Fantastic music! I love the exposure to other culture's music that this challenge has brought me. Very cool

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Fri Mar 17 2023
4

Neat! A conguero! I grooved…but desperately needed context for this album. According to Wikipedia Sabu Martinez has a wildly impressive American jazz and pop resumé and started his career performing with Benny Goodman and Dizzy Gillespie at 19 years old! That’s about all I can find. Dude seems pretty important to a very specific scene. And notable for weaving percussive, Afro-Cuban sounds into the American bebop scene. But Palo Congo—his debut—doesn’t appear to be his most important album. That appears to be his last, 1973’s Afro Temple, which is wildly psychedelic and awesome! I highly recommend checking it out (it’s on Youtube) if you were at all intrigued by this. Interesting how the larger 1001 community reviewers rate obscure, dated, and global (or globally-influenced in this case) music so lowly. Seems unfair. I seriously saw one reviewer complaining that this album was featured on the list instead of a second Supertramp album. Like, what? Nobody needs to hear two Supertramp albums before they die. One of these is far more vital. So, I’m boosting this master conguero's record with a strong 4 out of 5.

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Wed Apr 26 2023
4

I'm always amazed at listening to recordings done that far back and earlier. Some sound dated, and some sound timeless. This was a bit of a mix really. It wasn't until maybe the last song or two that I felt the weight of the years come rushing into the recording itself. Afro-Cuban music is not something I am familiar with, but the energy from this gives me a great impression. The yips were a bit annoying, but that was just them getting into the music, so it's forgivable. The instrumentation was very interesting. Very percussive, which at times drowned out the other instruments. But they were the most important part of the band here... All in all, I liked this album quite a lot. The last song or two was okay, but I felt the production really made you feel that the album was as old as it is. But I might be nitpicking here a bit...

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Wed Jun 21 2023
4

Loved the drums on this record

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Wed Jun 28 2023
4

Purely emotional. So refreshing.

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