Tamayo sang with Hector Valentín, a veteran of Orchesta Revé, before going on to form his
own group. Under the direction of NG La Banda’s José Luis Cortés, he recorded ¡Guapa! Que Me Matas, his second CD. Towards the end of the ’90’s, always looking for a bridge between Timba and mainstream Salsa, several UK Timba proselytisers saw potential in this.
The songs employ many of the elements of Timba, like percussion breakdowns and very free tumbadoras. They’re quite simple in structure, though, and chug along at a good dance tempo. Mostly upbeat, the chords are warm and undemanding as are the melodies.
The downside of this if you like complex arrangements, is that most of the songs are quite formularised. The rhythm section’s repertoire of efectos is limited and the charm of some songs might begin to wear thin. You could call this Timba lite, but a couple of songs still sound good to me after many listens and years. Lo Que Se Presente and La Carta, are nicely done butEl Fotógrafo is my pick of the crop. Tamayo seems to have reemployed a horn and chord sequence from the latter song in one from his third album, the obscure but brilliant Que Chiquitico Es El Mundo.
This CD is the original Caribe release which features much lower recording values than the rather rare EMI re-release. Don’t want to do myself out of a sale but the EMI is significantly better 🙂