While not straight congas and bongos, check out the Buena Vista Social Club. This is produced by Rye Cooder and a couple of other big name talented people and recorded with local artists in Cuba. The first of the two discs released is both great music and excellently recorded. The second is good as well, but not as much island type percussion as you are seeking.
What about Eek A Mouse? The Rippingtons - though perhaps again not as much Bongo/congas?
Also, go to Yourmusic.com and do some searches for under world music. You can listen to various track pieces on line to get a feel. CD's, included SACD and DVD-A are only $6.99 including shipping if you sign up to buy at least one disc per month.
I am going to hit you with an unusual recommendation. Try Eddie From Ohio. Very unusual in that the group is musically driven by vocals and percussion; including bongos, conga, tabla, etc. Musical style is folk/bluegrass/singer songwriter. Outstanding harmonies, witty, well written songs and great percussion. Try it, you might like it.
Im also a big fan of good percussion!!! RayTry to find,Putumayo Presents,Latino Latino.A compilation of some of the hottest Latin rhythms Ive heard!Plenty of bongos and congos!Santanas first few albums,,Abraxas,another great LP from Santana that not a lot of folks have heard"Welcome" mostly instrumental ,very beautiful music,very percussive. Juan De Marcos,Afro Cuban AllStars,"Distinto Diferente" Los Mocosos "Mocos Locos"esp the first tune;"Somos los Mocosos "will def. test your low freq.! Ray
For outrageous drumming (lots of "homey" percussion), check out Bahia Black's "Ritual Beating System." It's a one-off band that will never assemble or record together again, and it's unbelievable.
A few others?
The starting minute or so of Ben Harper's song Burn One Down.
There's a Tabla player who is also a house music superstar, but he cut a few traditional albums. His name is Talvin Singh, and it will be clear whether he's drumming or mixing. The mix stuff is incredible (some of it anyway) but the table stuff is extremely well recorded (not a surprise given his mixing credentials.
The Little Feat live album, Waiting for Columbus, features an awesome bongo player. While the album is more jam band than percussion fest, it's a must-own album and the bongo moments are superlative.
Find the world music album by and named Nomad. It's sure to show your system to advantage and it has lots of homemade percussion instruments.
Giovanni Hidalgo's "Worldwide" is an excellent recording by one of the greatest congueros to emerge in the past two decades. While not a "sound-effects" album, the advanced arrangements and great playing in a modern latin idiom are certainly worthy of recommendation.
You can trust me on this--just check out my tag!: Adalberto Alvarez Afro Cuban All Stars Albita Arturo Sandoval Chano Pozo Chucho Valdes Jesus Alemany Mongo Santamaria & Pancho Sanchez Paquito d'Rivera
Try to find any music by Tito Puente. He had a big band in the late 30's and 40's i believe, and some of Santana's early songs are actually his, such as "Oye Como Va." He featured lots of bongo, conga, and timbales playing.--Mrmitch