Puchito Records was Cuba’s second independent record label. It was founded by Jesús Gorís in 1954 during the mambo and cha-cha-chá explosion.
In 1952, Gorís invested in a single, “Guantanamera”, composed by Joseíto Fernández, which did well in jukeboxes. Gorís and two partners, Messrs. Alfredo Beltrán and Oliva, originally wanted to launch a series of children’s records, so they chose the name Puchito, which, in this context, means “youngest child.”
With the support of Benny Moré, Gorís spearheaded the rediscovery of a major sonero artist from the 1920s, Abelardo Barroso, who, back then, had sung with Sexteto Habanero. Gorís curated and, through Puchito, republished old photographs and produced Barroso with the Orquesta Sensación.
In early July 1955, Barroso recorded a single, “La hija de Juan Simón” and “En Guantánamo” (Puchito 224, 78 rpm & 45 rpm), his first recording in over fifteen years, and apart from his solitary single in 1939, his first in over a quarter century. Rolando Valdés, founder of Orquesta Sensación, selected the songs for the session, both from Barroso’s radio hits of the 1930s. The release became one of the greatest double-sided hits in the history of popular music. It became a Gold Record in 1956.
At some point, Puchito recorded in the studios of Radio Progreso, built in 1950. Puchito also recorded in a private studio at Calle 10 n.52 in the Vedado district of Havana. And for many years, Puchito recorded at Cuban Plastics & Record Corporation at San Miguel 410, between Campanario and Lealtad in Havana, with the factory outside of the city. San Miguel 410 was the home of Panart, founded and owned by Ramón S. Sabat and his wife, Julia, both also founders of Cuban Plastics and Record Corporation.
On May 29, 1961, during the process of enterprise nationalization started by the Revolutionary Government, the assets and management of several record companies were assumed by the Imprenta Nacional de Cuba (INC) (National Press of Cuba), an arts overseer created March 31, 1961. Companies included in the seizure included Puchito and Panart.
Imprenta Nacional de Cuba acted as the only legal Cuban label until 1964.
In 1964, EGREM (Empresa de Grabaciones y Ediciones Musicales) became Cuba’s national label. EGREM operated several imprints including Areito (for recordings made in the former Panart studios in Havana), Palma (for international distribution) and Siboney (for recordings made in Santiago de Cuba).
In 1961, two years after the end of the Cuban Revolution, Gorís went into exile, immigrating to Miami, Florida, and was lawfully admitted in the United States for permanent residence on October 20, 1962. He began working at a 7-Eleven, then became a top salesman for Equitable Life Insurance in Miami. While working in insurance, Gorís, with a partner, Giuseppe Pucci Storniolo (1929–1993), launched Puchito Record Mfg. Co. Inc. in 1963 as a Florida entity, initially located at 480 East 28 Street, Hialeah. Puchito Record Mfg. Co. produced the recordings that Gorís brought with him from Cuba.
After a period of time, the new Puchito released those recordings on its newly created budget label, Adria. The new Puchito also started to distribute its newly created Krystal label.
The company remained active until 1971. It somehow operated afterwards from the US, but seemed to have continued also in Cuba for a while after the revolution.
Panart Records was the first Cuban record label. It was founded in 1943 by Ramon Sabat, a musician and engineer who set up his studio in an old colonial house bordering Havana’s downtown shopping district.
Their offices were at San Miguel 410, between Campanario and Lealtad in Havana, with the factory where they manufactured the discs outside of the city.
He named his new label Panart – short for Pan-American Art. The most common label is rich blue.
But the orange label with a different more block letter font for the logo is also fairly common on the 78 rpm discs.