Cyril X Diaz & His Orchestra 10″ 4 track EP

Cyril X Diaz and his Orchestra 10″ 4 track EP on Soundway

I first ran into this tune when Phil Etgart played it to me, as the blueprint for the Gaylads and later Dennis Brown’s – ‘Africa’. It was a revelation then, and seeing as it’s a stand up tune in its own right, one worth having, now that I’ve got over my shock and delight at the historical note it plays on the Bamboo flute that is Jamaican musical history, I bought TWO copies, one for me, and one for my musical spar House of Reggae’s Ian Causer.

Up until recently it was only available as a traded MP3, or on a rare Cook 45rpm that last went for about £70 for a poor quality copy on eBastards or perhaps on an even rarer 78rpm, who knows, I don’t think anyone I know has ever seen one, let alone bought it on 78, but there are rumours!!!.

The tune according to the sleeve notes on the 10″ Lp (I’ll get to it in a second) states that ‘Taboo, is a famous Cuban standard that has been covered countless times. The song was written by the mezzo-soprano Margarita Lecuona, the neice of famous Cuban composer, pianist and bandleader Ernesto Lecuona’.

Though I’d heard of Ernesto Lecuona, I didn’t know, 1. It was originally Cuban in origin, 2. That it wasn’t written by Diaz, and 3. Was a famous standard. It’s crazy just how long some great music takes to permeate, how many times it has been or can be ‘re-discovered’ and why the hell a tune this good eluded me (or you for that matter) for so long.

A Short time ago a double cd of Jamaican chart music from the end of the 50s included the other version/recording of Diaz’s version of this tune, I wrote about that issue here – but this latest 10″ EP features this song and three others, all worth inclusion and almost as essential, particularly Voodoo, which partners Taboo (or Tabu as it’s sometimes known) one the A side. Though you will find the version of Taboo on the 10″ is a different arrangement than that previously heard on the Cook 45rpm and the cd album mentioned above (I think, well I’m pretty sure, it could be the Monaural reproduction of the 60s Dansette I’m listening to it on as I write distorting it’s sonic sensibilities I guess…).

Though the 10″ will set you back a fair penny, as it’s a ltd edition pressing, I heartily recommend you go get your copy, it’s a show stopper!

Tracks are –


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