|I never thought I’d find a band to cover from Costa Rica, so I was surprised to learn about two 45s by Los Gatos. This group shouldn’t be confused with Los Gatos from Argentina and Spain, they’re an authentic Costa Rican band. I can find little information on the band, but one of their vocalists, Jorge del Castillo became a major singing star in the 1970’s. The group also had more releases than these two.|
The earlier 45 was “Boogaloo Indio”, a promising title though the record seems to have more in common with “Wooly Bully” than any real boogaloo. It was backed by a ballad, “Toma Mi Corazon” written and sung by Jorge del Castillo.
Of the four songs I’ve heard by the band, I prefer “Ven Que Estoy Hirviendo” their cover of the brazilian hit “Vem Quente Que Eu Estou Fervendo”, written by Eduardo Araújo and Carlos Imperial. Los Gatos may have heard Erasmo Carlos’ Spanish version of the song though their version is much more sedate. There was at least one other version sung in Spanish, by Peru’s Los Spectros.
Manuel Najar is listed as vocalist on both “Hirviendo” and the A-side of that 45, “Tiritando”. We can date this 45 to no earlier than 1969, as the original version of “Tiritando” done by the artist ‘Donald’ was a hit in Argentina that year.
One of the members of Los Gatos wrote to me in November, 2010:
My name is Jose Sanabria and I was the drummer for Los Gatos de Costa Rica con Ricardo Acosta.
The group formed as studio band for Ricardo Acosta sometime in the middle ’60s. I came as the drummer six months after the group got together. The members at that time: Chino Lios (lead guitar), Emanuel Najar (electric bass), Jorge Del Castillo (singer), Ricardo Acosta (lead singer), Ricardo Sosa (keyboards) and myself Jose Sanabria (nickname Pepe Sanabria) on drums.
We recorded many hits under the label INDICA (Industria de Discos Centro Americanas), later became Columbia Records then Sony Music. I was the drummer on all these recordings.
We traveled all over Central and South America promoting some of the hits and went on tour with another group called Paco Navarrete y Su Conjunto.
Most of the music you will find under Ricardo Acosta con los Gatos de Costa Rica. Most of the recordings are now on CD.
I was with the band until 1968 when I got married and moved to Wisconsin. I reside in Middleton, Wisconsin as a computer specialist for a company call Full Compass Systems. You can check our site, there are what we call Gearcast and some interviews with me during our new building’s grand opening. Even at 66 years old I am doing studio work playing with top notch musicians.
I have been in contact with Ricardo Acosta on a regular basis. I do not know about the rest of the members.
We are going to Costa Rica in Jan. of 2011 and I am hoping to get the band together one more time since we all are by now in the late 50s and 60s.
Jose E. Sanabria
Much thanks to Jeffrey Harvey for alerting me to Los Gatos and sending scans and transfers of the songs.
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