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FANIA

Ray Barretto's Latin/soul crossover record of 1968, Acid includes a few tracks of his ebullient, instrumental salsa, but also plays off the boogaloo craze of the past few years with a few Latin soul numbers. The crossovers "A Deeper Shade of Soul," "Soul Drummers," and "Teacher of Love" (all written by Barretto himself) are a lot of fun, but the (relatively) straight-ahead salsa of "El Nuevo Barretto" and the title track easily edge out the competition. It's nowhere near as psychedelic as the title would indicate, but Acid holds up nevertheless as a great document of the late-'60s confluence of Latin, funk, and soul.

Willie Colon & Ruben Blades

Siembra

The high point of Willie Colón's ongoing collaboration with Rubén Blades (and close to a career peak for both artists), Siembra exploded on the salsa scene in 1978 and has never been forgotten by fans. Beginning with a minute of playfully deceptive quasi-disco arrangements, Colón and his band slip into a devastating salsa groove for the opener, "Plástico," on which Blades first criticizes America's throwaway society and then brings all of Latin America together with a call to unity. Blades wrote all but one of the songs on "Siembra", and shines on all of them; his extended high-tenor salsa scatting lifts "Buscando Guayaba," his tender side comes across on the love song "Dime," and he outlines a devastating life-in-el-Barrio exposé with "Pedro Navaja" (Peter the Knife). For the latter, Colón and Luis Ortiz's tight arrangement adds immeasurably to the song, using street noise and sirens, breaking into an ironic "I like to live in America!," and punching the statement home with a four-trombone line. Reflecting the tough times but optimistic attitude of el Barrio during the late '70s, Siembra joined Cosa Nuestra as one of Willie Colón's career landmarks.

A brilliant Latin-soul / boogaloo album from Joe Bataan, and the biggest selling Latin LP of 1968, so it obviously needs checking out. There are some real winners here, including "It's A Good Feeling (Riot)", "What Good is A Castle" and the classic "Ordinary Guy".

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP Info: US import reissue with authentic replica artwork.

Joe Bataan

Subway Joe

US reissue of this late 60s LP. Includes upbeat party groovers and cool latin-soul gems. The title track is the real killer here!


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