LOS FABULOSOS CADILLACS – REY AZÚCAR
Released June, 1995 – 21 years ago
The tenth studio album by Argentina’s Los Fabulosos Cadillacs represents their first high-profile release outside of Latin America. This was due in part to guest appearances by Mick Jones of The Clash and Debbie Harry of Blondie and production by the Taking Heads’ Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz. Unlike the band’s earlier work based almost exclusively in ska, reggae, and salsa, there are heavier punk and dub influences here as well.
The Classic Pick is a weekly feature at 4 p.m. Monday-Friday on The Home Stretch, sponsored by the Good Oak Bar and curated by Kris Kerry. Each Monday at 4 p.m. Kris stops by KXCI’s studio to give us insight on this classic album at 91.3 FM and KXCI.org.
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs formed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1985, and released their first album Bares y Fondas in 1986. Since then, they have released nearly 20 albums and have become one of the most influential and most-referenced rock bands in the Latin rock world.
Stylistically, the band mixes salsa, rock, ska, jazz, funk, and reggae with irreverent lyrics that often contain political undertones. As the band developed, they also added elements of punk, big band, and Jamaican dub.
The lineup has changed over time, but its core members have always been the cofounders, singer Gabriel Fernandez Capello, also known as Vicentico, and bassist Flavio Cianciarulo.
Rey Azúcar, meaning “King Sugar” in English, took its name from a chapter in the 1971 history of Latin America, Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina (Open Veins of Latin America), by Eduardo Galeano. Eduardo Galeano was a Uruguayan journalist and left-leaning author. The book is a history of Latin America as a whole from European settlement through modern day, describing the effects of European and later US economic exploitation and political dominance over the region.
Rey Azúcar represents one of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs best selling albums; both the original 1995 release and the 2008 re-mastered release received platinum certifications.
Rey Azúcar received more attention that previous Cadillacs albums throughout Latin America, as well as the US and UK. This was due, at least in part, to featured appearances by Mick Jones of The Clash and Debbie Harry of Blondie both (on “Mal Bicho” and Beatles cover of “Strawberry Fields Forever”). According to the band members, working with both Jones and Harry were “dreams come true,” as the Cadillacs are huge fans of both The Clash and Blondie.
Rey Azúcar was recorded at the famed Compass Point Studios, located in Nassau, Bahamas. Compass Point Studios has recorded albums by several well known acts, including: AC/DC (who recorded Black In Black here in 1980), Serge Gainsbourg, The Rolling Stones, Grace Jones, U2, Dire Straits, ELO, Bob Marley, Iron Maiden, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Roxy Music, Björk, David Bowie, The B-52s, Talking Heads, and Tom Tom Club.
Production credit goes to Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz. Weymouth and Frantz, who have been married since 1977, are perhaps best known as the founding members of the Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, playing bass and drums respectively. Weymouth and Frantz also co-produced the Happy Mondays album Yes, Please! (1992), and a handful of other albums. Weymouth also provides backing vocals and percussion for The Gorillaz.
In addition to Mick Jones, Debbie Harry, Tina Weymouth, and Chris Frantz, Los Fabulosos Cadillacs have collaborated with the funk/punk/ska act Fishbone, the Afro-Cuban/salsa/Latin jazz icon Rebé Blades, and “The Queen of Salsa,” Celia Cruz.
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs have been awarded a Latin Grammy and have been nominated for a Latin Gammy as well.