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The Best of Esquivel




Esquivel CD coverThe explosion that was Esquivel was a truly monumental sound which combined vocal harmony, stereo separation and big band music all in a completely listenable and fun style in the late 50s - late 60s. In the 1990s, a renaissance of Esquivel's "Space Age Pop" music occurred, at a time when the nerdy hipsters were sick of grunge and pre-processed pop music, the sounds that might emanated from their parent's hi-fi's from the dawn of the stereo era became an enticing and enthusiastic fad. Luckily, Esquivel lived long enough to enjoy this revival, passing away in January 2002. Camden, a British BMG label was one of the labels which originally reissued some Esquivel music in the 1990s along with RCA and Bar/None in America, and here Camden are again with The Best of Esquivel compiling tracks recorded between 1957 and 1967.

Along with the stereo separation, male and female chorus of wordless vocals and big band orchestra, Esquivel added in his own piano along with other more exotic instruments like theremin, bells, accordion and some wacky steel slide guitar which sounds like it is talking to you. It's really very hard to take Esquivel's music seriously, though one can find beauty in his humorous extension of the big band and vocal styles of the day. If one just sits back and enjoys the Esquivel Space Pop on its own terms, it's a tremendous experience, often taking you into "another world." With songs like Mucha Muchacha (1961), Mini Skirt (1967), Vereda Tropical (1957), Puerto Principe (1957), Besame Mucho (1966), La Raspa (1961), Johnson Rag (1960), Question Mark (1966), Ballerina (1958), Carioca (1961), and Jesusita De Chihuahua (1961). I found myself particularly drawn to his songs from the mid 1960s like Question Mark, because I had not really heard these songs the first go 'round in the early 1990s, so it was these songs I found most refreshing. Other songs which I hadn't really noticed the first time like Ballerina, Puerto Principe and Johnson Rag also are wonderful. Now I really want a Martini.

---Patrick, November 25, 2003