Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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Maverick NYC salsa band with a characteristic style, always mixing Spanish lyrics, Latin tunes and English-language R&B/soul-oriented numbers. Organized mid- 60s by brothers José (pianist, arranger, composer, lead and chorus singer) and Angel Lebrón (bassist, cuatro guitarist, arranger, composer, lead and chorus singer); both born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, raised in Brooklyn, NYC; Pablo Lebrón provided Spanish lead vocals until suffering a stroke '88. Signed to George Goldner's Cotique label at the peak of the boogaloo fad '66-9; made albums '67-82 starting with Psychedelic Goes Latin '67 (with uncredited production by boogaloo bandleader Johnny Colon), followed by The Brooklyn Bums, I Believe, Brother (another brother pictured for the first time on the sleeve: percussionist, tres guitarist, vocalist and composer Carlos) and Llegamos/We're Here, all produced by Goldner.

While many bandleaders fell by the wayside when the boogaloo craze blew over, the Lebrons' survived. The enduring classic hit title track of their next LP Salsa y Control c.1970 is regarded by some as a contributing factor to the usage of the term 'salsa' (sauce) to describe Latin music. José arranged and conducted Pablo's slow romantic solo set Pablo '71 on Cotique. Picadillo a la Criollo '71 and En La Union Esta La Fuerza '72 were their last two releases before Cotique's absorption by Fania, whose then staff producer Larry Harlow (see his entry) was responsible for Asunto de Familia '73, which also marked the promotion of conguero brother Frank Lebrón to the LP's cover; Fania co-founder Johnny Pacheco produced 4 + 1 = The Lebrón Brothers '75, Distincto y Diferente '76 and 10th Anniversary '77; the latter included the unexpected hit 'Disco Bailable', written by José as an album-filler while travelling on the subway to the studio. Releases continued with The New Horizon '78, La Ley '80, Hot Stuff '81; their commendable Cotique finale Criollo '82 included the magnificent 'Sin Negro No Hay Guaguanco' ('Without The Blackman, There Would Be No Guaguanco'). They moved to Sergio Bofill and Humberto Corredor's Caimán label for Salsa Lebrón '86 with ex-the Bad Street Boys member Frankie Morales replacing Pablo on lead vocals; young Lebrón's trombonist Adrian, percussionist Angel Jr and keyboardist Nadine (Angel's daughter) were among the personnel.

Morales departed on acrimonious terms; he fronted his own band on En Su Punto '87 on Caimán and Sobresaliendo/ Standing Out '89 on Corredor's El Abuelo label; gigged with Tito Puente's Ensemble mid-1990s. El Boso '88 on El Abuelo was Pablo's last album with the band; Angel, José, Carlos and Enrique Estupiñan (also co-executive producer) shared lead vocals on Loco Por Ti '88 on Yengo; ex-Saoco member Luis Ayala (see Henry Fiol entry) and Estupiñan shared lead vocal chores on Salsa en el Paraiso con los Lebrón '90 on Astro Son, made in Cali, Colombia, where the band are very popular. Another young member of the Lebrón clan, Corrine, took most of the lead vocals on Ahora Te Toca A Ti '95 on Boso. Lo Mejor de/The Best Of The Lebrón Brothers '75 and Super Hits '94 compiled Cotique material.

LEBRÓN