Los Machucambos – Caramba!

Every now and again I pop into the town centre near work, usually for a coffee, baguette or a sausage in batter and chips, and while there I pop into the three charity shops on the high street. Blue Cross has been the most fruitful, Red Cross not so much and Sue Ryder has some decent albums but they are all too expensive for a charity shop buy (£8.00 for an album I know I can get off Ebay for £2.00 is not an attractive purchase). Yesterday I picked up an album by Los Machucambos from Blue Cross for £0.33, which is almost nothing. I bought it entirely on a whim along with a Nat King Cole Trio and a Peggy Lee, all three for £1.00. Tonight was my first chance to listen to it and at that price it is a steal because I love it. Let me tell you more about it (I’ve researched this a bit as I knew absolutely nothing).

Los Machucambos was a music band formed in Paris in 1959. The two guitar players were Rafaël Gayoso (from Spain), Milton Zapata (from Peru) and the singer was Julia Cortes (from Costa Rica) . In 1960 Zapata was replaced by Romano Zanotti (from Italy) Although the group had a long list of discography their best known hit was Pepito which became the number 1 hit in 1961.

This is the full album:


A1 El Cumbanchero
A2 El Manicero
A3 La Parranda
A4 Concierto En La Llanura
A5 El Caiman
A6 Brasil
B1 Alma Llanera
B2 Tico-Tico
B3 Cielito Lindo
B4 La Playa Colorada
B5 Mañana
B6 The Girl Ipanema (La ChicaDe Ipanema)

This album was released in 1966 and the version I have is Mono, which doesn’t appear to be on the Discogs database, just several stereo versions, this may or may not make it worth a couple of £ instead of pence, no idea, probably not.

There’s a quite comprehensive write up on the group here: Vintage Music so I won’t repeat it all here other than the first paragraph, which I thought was quite interesting:

Southern Native Americans made an instrument called a charango from the skin of an animal known in Latin America as a machucambo. Together, Rafael Gayoso, Mathias Romano Zanotti and Julia Cortes are the Machucambos.

So now we know. Anyway, I think it is fair to say that this is not my usual sort of thing but sometimes I like things I am not expected to and dislike things I am expected to, and care not a jot what anybody thinks about that. I sat tonight, played both sides, easily got my moneys worth and will almost certainly play it again as I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Here is their big hit, which isn’t on the album:

Rating: 7.8

5 thoughts on “Los Machucambos – Caramba!”

  1. Ooh, I love Los Machocambos! I was brought up on their 1961 album Percussive Latin Trio (a DECCA phase 4 stereo album). One of my favourite albums back then and still sounds great! I can still hum Pepito!
    So, you got a great album! Keep listening. Get the DECCA album if you can – it shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg!


  2. I was really surprised how much I liked it, it’s the mono decca version I have but I’ll look out for your recommendation as well, I think there’s room on my shelves for another Los Machocambos 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was looking at their discography, they put a lot of albums out over the years. They are definitely on my list to look out for when digging around the shops and record fairs as they will sell for very little and are a bargain. I’m just listening to the Nat King Cole Trio album I bought, the sound is wonderful, so much richer than modern digital recordings pressed on vinyl.

    Liked by 1 person

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