(This review first appeared in issue #69 of Shindig! magazine.)
Discos Templo LP + Extended CD
Spain in the late 1970s was a country coming to terms with its recent past, and unsure of its future. From Franco's death in 1975 through the road to democracy, unemployment was high and the streets often hosted riots, rubber bullets and police on horseback.
While British and American youth had punk to soundtrack their dissatisfaction, the young gypsy musicians of Madrid gigged their local bars playing traditional Rumbas, albeit with a similarly raw aggression, and a much superior virtuosity. But while Johnny Rotten sang of anarchy backed by a multinational corporation, records in Spain had to pass state censorship before release.
Acropol Records was a small label started in the mid '60s, that specialised in limited run 7” singles and cassettes by gypsy musicians from Madrid's shantytowns, the kind of musicians that larger labels simply would not record. This collection covers the years 1972 to 1983, and makes for a fascinating and revelatory listen.