|O Elefante (Gotan Project & Haaksman Remix)|
|Saona (Gilles Peterson And Sinbad Remix)|
|Alejate (Joaquin "Joe" Claussell Sacred Rhythm Remix)|
|Take Five (Nicola Conte Remix)|
|Acid (Twin Shadow Remix)|
|Mambo Mongo (Sacred Rhythm Version)|
|Aguanile (Toy Selectah 2013 Cosmico Remix)|
|Power (Whiskey Barons Heavy Funk Mix)|
|Las Caras Lindas (Isa GT Remix)|
|Right On (Whiskey Barons Got Some Afro Mix)|
|Siembra (Joe Claussell Remix)|
|Mi Gente (Louie Vega EOL Remix)|
|EOL Soulfrito (Medley)|
|Y Mi Negro Esta Cansa'o|
|Oye Mi Mambo|
|Este "E" Mi Mambo|
|Varsity Drag Mambo|
|Mamabo En España|
|I'll Be A Happy Man|
|Return To Spanish Harlem|
|You're Moving Much Too Fast|
|You Gotta Love Me|
|Sing A Simple Song|
In our two previous volumes of El Barrio, we provided an exciting introduction to the Latin music world of the late '60s and early '70s. It was a period of rapid political and economic change, a change that would often manifest itself through crisis. These exciting and sometimes frightening times generated many a leap forward in the arts. It was no different for a Latin world that was on the cusp of change between the crossover world of boogaloo and Latin soul and the pure salsa orthodoxy that would dominate the '70s. It is from this specific cultural moment that we love to discover hidden gems and dancefloor winners cherished by DJs and producers, exposing them to a wider audience.
We leave the pure salsa tracks to the parallel series of compilations New York City Salsa. What we have here is Latin music with an American twist - funk, soul or a touch of jazz.
Theoretically, we would be left with recordings made only in New York. This time, however, three of the tracks here were recorded in Puerto Rico.
The first one is by Roberto Roena and the Apollo Sound, culled from the Apollo Sound Vol. 1 LP. Roberto had been a member of both Cortijo’s group and El Grand Combo, and he would become a core member of the Fania All Stars. His main orchestra was the Apollo Sound, which he formed in 1969. Recorded at Trans Recording Studio in Santurce, the band's first two albums were clearly heading in the direction of mainstream salsa. Still, the group favored a progressive aesthetic, with a horn lineup inspired by mainstream rock bands like Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. It recorded covers of songs by the likes of Santana and, in this case, Sly and the Family Stone. The group was made up of some of the most forward thinking musicians in Puerto Rico - always at the top of their game.
Roena was also present when the Fania All Stars made their debut in San Juan in 1973 - n fact, Apollo Sound played two numbers in the middle of the Fania All Stars set. Tracks from that concert were used when compiling the two volumes of Live At The Yankee Stadium and also the Latin Soul Rock LP. The tapes were edited and overdubbed. Recently, we recovered and remixed them to sound as they would have that night. The first fruit of this effort is the version of “Soul Makossa” that we feature here - slightly longer than the previously released one, and with Larry Harlow’s organ sounding more fully than ever before. Check out the guest appearance by the song's composer, Manu Dibango.
Our final Puerto Rican track is by Orquesta International, which recorded for the short lived Mavi label - a joint effort by Fania’s Jerry Masucci and Rafael Viera, owner of Puerto Rico's legendary Viera Discos. You may recognize “Mucho Control” from the version recorded by Ismael Quiñones for the Vaya imprint. This is the original, and in my opinion, the better of the two versions.
The Fania All Stars appear for a second time under the guise of Harvey Averne’s Barrio Band, with the Santana soundalike “Cucaraca Macaraca” from the Barrio Band’s only LP on the Heavy Duty label. That imprint was another Fania joint venture - this time with Harvey, who would later go on to form the Coco label and win the first ever Latin Grammy for the Eddie Palmieri LP The Sun Of Latin Music. Averne had been a successful building contractor before he devoted himself to the Latin music business. In the early days, he had effectively ran Fania for Masucci and Pacheco, when they were both busy with other matters. His own recordings had more of a soul and rock based groove. He released his first album, a Fania Production, through Atlantic in 1967, launching two other albums and several singles before the Barrio Band release. Still, this wasn't his Fania swan song. In 1971, he started to record what would have been the third album by the sweet voiced Ralfi Pagán. Even though the project was not completed, a single was prepared featuring the awesome funk tune “It’s Alright" - unreleased, except for a 45 rpm promo.
Central to this volume of El Barrio is the name of Bobby Marín - a Nuyorican who grew up in the Spanish Harlem wanting to sing like Frankie Lymon and spending too much time at the Apollo Theatre. His brother Richard was a producer for Decca and RCA. Inevitably, Bobby got into the game, making a number of fantastic records that filled dancefloors the world over. Two years ago, Christina Aguilera based her international pop hit “Ain’t No Other Man” on a rhythm track based on Bobby’s I’ll Be A Happy Man” for the Latin Blues Band on the Speed label. Like other classic slices of New York funk, the groove was played by Bernard Purdie. Bobby also produced Tony Middleton and Bobby Matos on “Return To Spanish Harlem” - an amazing record that was based around a James Brown-styled groove. Bobby first worked with Middleton when he was recommended to sing “Spanish Maiden” on an album by Chuito and the Latin Uniques.
Bobby didn’t make a lot of solo records. One of them was his only single for Speed: the fantastically rare “Your Moving Much Too Fast,” a fine shing-a-ling groove that would command a lot of dollars from collectors - if only they knew about it. It would likely follow the fate of Richie and the PS 54 Schoolyard’s “Hey Mr Skyjacker,” which commands three figures after becoming a cult club item. The Richie in this case was Ricardo Marrero. The label, Rabo, was a short lived company owned by Bobby and Ralph Lew.
Bobby also worked with two of Latin music’s biggest legends, writing songs for Tito Puente and filling in for Pete Bonnet on Ray Barretto's group. Both of these artists are present in this compilation. Even though he was responsible for some of the most incendiary Latin soul cuts ever recorded and was also a key salsa figure, Ray was also a serious jazz conga player, participating in a number of New York sessions in the early '60s before his own career exploded with the success of “El Watusi.” On numerous occasions throughout his career, he would prove his improvisational skills. “Drum Song” was originally an eight-minute percussion and poetry workout outlining the importance of the drummer.
The Puente track included here is a jazz-funk piece that verges on disco. Puente’s many talents are further highlighted by his production work on Quetcy De Alma’s London club favorite “Deep,” a tune that is far from typical but would sit well alongside La Lupe’s “Fever.”
Only a brave man could have predicted that Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe would become the biggest salsa stars of the '70s when Fania released their debut album in 1967. The 17 year-old Colón and his band were thought to be kids playing a man’s game - they were criticized for being "not proper musicians." They ended up having the last laugh, of course, but even this first album was a joy to listen to - including the hit boogaloo “Willie Whopper.”
The final three cuts are from George Goldner’s Cotique label. Goldner was a legendary figure in the New York record biz, running a series of labels starting with Tico in the late '50s, working with Roulette, End, Gone, Red Bird and ending with Cotique. He was great at discovering talent, but had a weakness for the race track that caused him the loss or bankruptcy of all those labels - he held on to Cotique probably because he died in 1970, before things could go wrong. Cotique found George returning to his Latin roots and discovering new talent while the boogaloo boom was in full swing.
Johnny Colón kick-started this wave with “The Boogaloo Blues,” and then made some fine LPs in a similar vein such as Boogaloo 67, from where “Got to Love You” is taken.
The Lebrón Brothers had a long and illustrious salsa career ahead of them, but their first few years owed plenty to the vocal tradition of doo-wop. The sumptuous “Summertime Blues” is a perfect example of this tendency, and would have taken Goldner back to the late '50s, when his labels were leading exponents of the doo-wop sound. “My Girl” comes from a similar place, though maybe with a more contemporary big-city soul sound. It was one of several Joey Pastrana tracks that followed this route - all of them stunning.
Liner notes written by Dean Rudland.
|Las Perlas de Tu Boca|
|Te Quiero Dijiste|
|Llanto de Luna|
|Quizas, Quizas, Quizas|
|Aquellos Ojos Verdes|
|Y Tu Que Has Hecho?|
|Historia de Un Amor|
|De Donde Vengo|
|Moros Y Cristianos|
|Le Llaman Jesus|
|Sin Dios No Hubiera Nada|
|Hable Con El Senor|
|El Juez Final|
A constant chronicle of the Latin community, salsa echoes the dreams, frustrations, joys, woes, failures and pleasures of the inhabitants of large urban centers in the Caribbean, South America and New York. Indeed, it is a style of music that has always nourished itself on the spirituality and religious nature of mankind – even before the conversion of Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz to evangelism. Christian Salsa is a compilation that encompasses the everlasting character of spiritual salsa music cultivated from a wealth of sources during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The lyrics are fresh, current, dynamic, creative and revealing – and after various decades, they still have the power to transform lives everywhere in the world.
Salsa music lovers from New York, the Caribbean and elsewhere can dance and sing along to the tracks contained herein, while internalizing the spiritual messages directed at their hearts.
The incomparable Celia Cruz reflects on the plan the Almighty has for her life and states, “Without God There Would Be Nothing” (“Sin Dios No Hubiera Nada”). Ever the salsa powerhouse, Celia manifests her spiritual leanings
Mankind has asked itself time and again regarding the origins of the universe and the human race. The quest for knowledge continues in this compilation, and the “eternal question” is posed thoughtfully and appropriately by the dynamic duo of Ray Barretto and Adalberto Santiago on the track “De Donde Vengo” (“Where Do I Come From?”).
Although Adam and Eve were expelled from “El Paraiso” (“The Garden of Eden”), as Celia proclaims with the accompaniment of Willie Colón, each day the Creator blesses us with the gift of life is an opportunity to organize elements of our daily lives and go out and meet with Him;
A message of warning is issued by Ruben Blades to those who are indifferent and do not heed God’s greater calling. In Blades’ brilliantly sung biblical tale, “Noe” (“Noah”), a comparison is made between today’s society and those that suffered because they did not recognize divine prophecy.
Almost four decades later, the Lebron Brothers remind us that God does not differentiate between “Muslims and Christians” or agnostics or believers. The individual who believes in God strengthens his/her “spiritual peace”, as is related in the hit by Frankie Dante. Then, as proclaimed by Ismael Rivera, Héctor Lavoe and the duo Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz, “The Messiah”, “El Todopoderoso” (“The Omnipotent One”), the one “they call Jesus”, and “Jesus of Nazareth”, will completely transform our lives, filling them with peace, happiness and health, both physical and spiritual.
With the “Faith” that the Lebrón Brothers intone, say with certainty: “I spoke with the Lord” in order to, as Nelson de Jesús along with Impacto Crea vocalize, see how Jesus can orient you in life, above all, at the threshold of the third millennium at which time the God of Compassion cries out, with the swing of Willie Rosario, “Repent Sinners” because, as the song of Roberto Roena and his Apollo Sound expresses, “Hora Cero” (“Zero Hour”) is near and (“El Ultimo Juez”) “The Last Judge”, as it is sung by Ismael Quintana, is coming to redeem humanity with his sword of justice because He squeezes, but does not choke. Blessings!
Written and compiled by Jaime Torres Torres
Como crónica del barrio latino, la salsa se sigue haciendo eco de los sueños, frustraciones, gozos, tristezas, fracasos y placeres de los ciudadanos de los grandes centros urbanos del Caribe, Sudamérica y Nueva York. Nunca estuvo al margen de la espiritualidad y religiosidad del hombre, nutriéndose –desde antes de la conversión en 1974 de Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz al evangelio – de los relatos bíblicos y de las vivencias espirituales de seres humanos, comunes y corrientes, como usted y quien suscribe.
La recopilación Christian Salsa es un ejemplo del carácter imperecedero de la salsa cultivada en Nueva York durante los años 60, 70 y 80. Son letras frescas, actuales, dinámicas, creativas y reveladoras que, varias décadas después, pueden transformar vidas.
Melómano salsero de Nueva York, el Caribe y el mundo, baile y cante mientras interioriza cada mensaje dirigido a su corazón a ritmo de salsa. Reflexione sobre el plan que el Altísimo tiene en su vida porque, como interpreta la inolvidable Reina Rumba, “Sin Dios No Hubiera Nada”.
Sí, lo comprendo, porque muchas veces también me pregunté “De Dónde Vengo”, interrogante que posiblemente hoy podrá responder cuando escuche atentamente la interpretación de Ray Barretto y Adalberto Santiago.
Si bien Adán y Eva fueron expulsados de “El Paraíso”, como pregona Celia con el acompañamiento de Willie Colón, cada día en que el Creador nos bendice con el don de la vida es una oportunidad para ordenar la casa y salir a su encuentro; de lo contrario por nuestra indiferencia padeceremos como aquellos que desobedecieron a “Noé”, según el relato bíblico brillantemente interpretado por Rubén Blades.
Casi cuatro décadas después los Lebrón Brothers nos recuerdan que el llamado no discrimina contra “Moros y Cristianos” o agnósticos o creyentes. El que cree en Dios fortalece su “Paz Espiritual”, como versa el éxito de Frankie Dante. Entonces, como pregonan Ismael Rivera, Héctor Lavoe y el binomio de Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz, “El Mesías”, “El Todopoderoso”, aquel al que “Le Llaman Jesús” y “El Nazareno” transformarán integralmente nuestras vidas, colmándolas de paz, alegría y salud, física y espiritual.
Con la “Fe” que entonan los Hermanos Lebrón, diga con certeza: “Hablé Con El Señor” para que, como entona Nelson de Jesús con Impacto Crea, compruebe cómo Jesús lo puede orientar en la vida, sobre todo en el umbral de un tercer milenio en el cual el Dios de la Misericordia clama, con el swing de Willie Rosario, “Arrepentíos Pecadores” porque, como versa la canción de Roberto Roena y su Apollo Sound, la “Hora Cero” se acerca y “El Juez Final”, como lo canta Ismael Quintana, viene a redimir con su espada de justicia a la humanidad porque El aprieta, pero no ahoga. ¡Bendiciones!
Escrito y recopilado por Jaime Torres Torres
|I'll Be A Happy Man|
|Llegaron Los Bonches|
|Son Cuero Y Boogaloo|
|King Of Latin Soul|
|El Nuevo Barretto|
|At The Party|
|El Cadete Constitucional|
|Me Lo Dijo Adela|
|Me Voy Pa'l Pueblo|
|En La Habana Vieja|
|Son De La Loma|
|Dolor Y Pena|
|Ipso Calypso (Calypso)|
|Flor De Yumurí|
|A Baracoa Me Voy|
|Quizás, Quizás, Quizás|
|Vuelveme A Querer|
|La Gloria Eres Tu|
|Ojos Verdes (Aquellos Ojos Verdes)|
|Amor Sin Esperanza|
|Tu Mi Adoración|
|Noche De Ronda|