Verdaguer - Humahuaca. 1994 Brazil

Verdaguer - Humahuaca. 1994 Record Runner (CD)

CD reissue: 2005 Record Runner

Bassist Willy Verdaguer, born and raised in Argentina, took off for Brazil in the late 1960s to become part of the exciting music scene that had captured the imagination of many South Americans. His most notable contribution was with the respected early 70s underground band Secos & Molhados. After years of production work, Verdaguer reemerged without fanfare and released Humahuaca, an album that was under the radar even in its own day. The title comes from the band name Verdaguer lead in the 1970s and 80s. Flute plays a major role in Verdaguer's sound, and thus comparisons to an instrumental Camel are inevitable, and are reasonable. The pastoral sounds of Casa das Maquinas mixed with Solaris would be another observation. And the pervasive "world music" theme gives off a strong scent of Jade Warrior. If any of this sounds appealing, then most assuredly Verdaguer will satisfy. The big drawback here is the production (ironically given Verdaguer's background), which is muddy, dull, and flat. The tones, especially on the keyboards, are all digital and lack any kind of edge. It's sadly the typical sound of the late 80s and early 90s. The saving grace is the flute, adding a much needed warmth to the proceedings. There's also some fine guitar solos as well. And listen for Billy Bond as a guest vocalist. Highlights include the head raising opener 'Danca dos Dedos', the grooving 'Charara', and the 11 minute prog rock epic 'Pulomelo'. Beyond the production, there is little to find wrong with Humahuaca, and comes as an easy recommendation. While I'm not usually a fan of re-recordings, I would love to hear this album done again with all analog gear, and a crisp production. Because the music quality is there.

Apparently the 2005 repress includes 5 bonus tracks. I've only heard the original CD.

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