Entertainment Weekly (12/3/99, p.102) - "...Close your eyes and feel the soft breezes of old Havana." - Rating: B+
Q (10/99, p.130) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...[CALLE SALUD] bridges conservatory suavity and Afro-Cuban deity-worship in one stride..."
CMJ (11/15/99, p.3) - "...a warmer, yet more refined vibe than his 1998 release, LO MEJOR DE LA VIDA....[It] conveys the contrast of intense sorrow and absolute bliss that permeates the best Cuban music..."
Mojo (Publisher) (10/99, p.122) - "...he provides a masterclass in harmony singing....Even a little help from Charles Aznavour...cannot steal anything from the man at the back. Sometimes being second is a winning position."
Personnel includes: Compay Segundo (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Hugo Garzon (vocals, guiro, maracas); Charles Aznavour, Vionaika Martinez (vocals); Benito Suarez, Mayelin Perez (guitar, background vocals); Ray Guerra (guitar); Rafael Lazaro Inciarte, Haskell Armenteros (clarinet, background vocals); Rosendo Nardo (bass clarinet); Salvador Repilado, Lazaro "Fino" Rivero (upright bass); Rafael Fournier (bongos, timbales, cowbell); Alejandro "Andito" Rodriquez (clave, background vocals); Julio Iznaga (paila, cowbell); Roberto Vizcaino (tambourine, bata, chequere).
Recorded at Abdala Studios, Havana, Cuba from February 1-15, 1999; Davout Studios & Plus XXX, Paris, France on April 21, 22 & 24, 1999.
This Japanese import edition contains four bonus tracks.
The cigar-chomping Compay Segundo brings equal parts class and sass to his second major-label outing, CALLE SALUD. While the Cuban son and bolero tunes found here are as fiercely romantic as those on BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB, Segundo infuses them with a grandfatherly charm and a certain naughtiness.
Each track fuses a triple-clarinet section with Segundo's dextrous guitar work, making for a melodious, elegant yet rustic effect. Whereas his peer Ibrahim Ferrer is gentle and beatific in his delivery, Segundo is alluring and mischievous. And while his fine vocal harmonies expose the upper reaches of his range, Segundo's voice often sweeps the very depths of La Habana harbor. This makes for a fun contrast on his duet with French crooner Charles Aznavour on "Morir De Amor," and a mysterious sort of accord with the ever-present sound of Rosendo Nardo's bass clarinet. What other nonagenarian, Cuban or otherwise, can get people breaking a sweat on the dance floor with just a few sweet verses? Compay Segundo is a hipster to the very end.