Home Read Classic Album Reviews: Eliades Ochoa Y El Cuarteto Patria | Sublime Illusion...

Classic Album Reviews: Eliades Ochoa Y El Cuarteto Patria | Sublime Illusion / Various Artists | Cuba

These two Buena Vista Social Club spinoffs will have you Havana daydreamin'.

This came out in 1999 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


The Buena Vista Social Club CD — the Ry Cooder-organized gathering of some of Cuba’s most respected and talented musicians — was easily the biggest world music album in years. Now we’re seeing the spinoff benefit of its success: More Cuban albums than ever on local record racks.

Not surprisingly, many of them (including these two) boast some connection to the BVSC. Eliades Ochoa, whose eight-string guitar graced the Buena Vista recordings, finally gets his chance to call the shots on his solo CD Sublime Illusion. It’s a stunner: with a style that can be as delicate as raindrops or as powerful as a torrential storm, Ochoa covers the spectrum of Cuban music — sons and guarachas, torchy tangos and fiery boleros — with help from Cooder, Los Lobos David Hidalgo and even blues harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite. Putumayo’s Cuba collection can’t boast that sort of superstar roster, although it does have Ochoa, along with other Social Clubbers such as vocalist Ibrahim Ferrer and percussionist Barbarito Torres. But whatever it lacks in star power it more than makes up for in quality, with 10 tracks of spicy timbales and claves, jazzy big-band beats and Ricky Ricardo rhythms that’ll have you Havana daydreamin’.