CD Fania Records 1964-1980: The Original Sound of Latin New York (CD 7020141),
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Fania Records 1964-1980: The Original Sound of Latin New York
0. DISC 1:
1. Dakar, Punto Final - Johnny Pacheco
2. La Juventud, La - Orchestra Harlow
3. Subway Joe - Joe Bataan
4. Mercy Mercy Baby - Ray Barretto
5. Use it Before You Lose It - Bobby Valentn
6. Hustler, The - Willie Coln
7. Mambo De Bataan - Joe Bataan
8. Consolacin - Roberto Roena Y Su Apollo Sound/Roberto Roena
9. Abran Paso - Ismael Miranda/Orchestra Harlow
10. Sonido Bestial - Richie Ray/Bobby Cruz
11. Che Che Col - Willie Coln
12. Anacaona - Cheo Feliciano
13. Quitate Tu [Live at the Cheetah] - Fania All-Stars (live)
14. Pa' Bravo Yo - Justo Betancourt
15. Asi Se Compone Un Son - Ismael Miranda
0. DISC 2:
1. Indestructible - Ray Barretto
2. Calle Luna, Calle Sol - Willie Coln
3. Que Se Sepa - Roberto Roena Y Su Apollo Sound/Roberto Roena
4. Coco Seco - Bobby Valentn
5. Quimbara - Johnny Pacheco/Celia Cruz
6. Pa'lante Otra Vez - Tommy Olivencia
7. Mi Gente - Hctor Lavoe
8. O Mi Shango - Mongo Santamara
9. Bomba Carambomba - La Sonora Poncea
10. Pablo Pueblo - Rubn Blades/Willie Coln
11. El Cantante, El - Hctor Lavoe
12. Pedro Navaja - Rubn Blades/Willie Coln
13. Sonaremos El Tamb - La Sonora Poncea/Celia Cruz
14. Cuando Despiertes - Fania All-Stars/Celia Cruz
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 078
Liner Note Author: Dean Rudland.
Fania is, bar none, the greatest Latin recording label of all time, the home of the most sparkling salsa and the boogiest boogaloo ever set down on a mold of wax barely able to resist melting from the heat. During its heyday, it hosted most of the best recordings by the biggest salsa stars of all time: Willie Coln, Hector Lavoe, Ray Barretto, Eddie Palmieri, Celia Cruz, Rubn Blades, Mongo Santamaria, and many others (even El Rey, Tito Puente, recorded frequently). But with the advent of dozens of compilations, from Fania and others, available in periodic waves during the last half of the 2000s, it's easy to forgive weary listeners who look at this compilation from the Strut label and ask, "What's the difference?" Of course, anyone who knows Strut knows that the label takes quality control to an insane level of detail, and this two-disc celebration of all things Fania is no different. First off, there's the sound. These tracks have never sounded better, not even from Fania itself, whether it's the tearing brass and pin-point bass of early hits like Joe Bataan's "Subway Joe" or the later, more sophisticated material from Celia Cruz (and yes, original masters were used). Also, while most of the hits are here, Strut clearly wanted to focus on the most propulsive numbers they could find, which is why listeners will discover two of the biggest Latin dancers of all time -- "Use It Before You Lose It" by Bobby Valentin and "Mercy Mercy Baby" by Ray Barretto -- front-loaded among these 30 tracks. Throughout, Strut tells the story of Fania via the label's musical progression, from its beginnings with Johnny Pacheco and his pachanga, its rebellious adolescence as it embraced street-level, Spanish Harlem-type toughness with upstarts like Willie Coln and others, finally its increasing sophistication (and experimentation) via the advent of the fully arranged salsa orchestra in the '70s (tracks here from Roberto Roena, Celia Cruz, and the act with no equal, Ismael Miranda leading Larry Harlow's Orchestra Harlow). As it should be, the focus is clearly on the Fania label, not the other labels that were independent during the '60s and '70s but brought under the Fania umbrella later. No caveats apply here, but strict historians should note that Strut's emphasis on dance affects the choices, but only slightly. Of all the Fania compilations put out, and they number in the thousands, Fania Records 1964-1980: The Original Sound of Latin New York is the one to own. What's more, of all the compilations of late-20th-century Latin music put out, this is also the one to own. ~ John Bush
Spin (p.76) - "This dancefloor-ready two-CD set is notable for its looser, funkier take on salsa's roots in mambo, soul, and boogaloo."
Pitchfork (Website) - "[Y]ou'll hear plenty of cycling, hypnotic piano figures, locked in with simple bass lines, underpinning these songs, while an arsenal of percussion defines and accents the different parts of the rhythm."
Uncut (magazine) (p.84) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[With] crazed boogaloo soul from Joe Bataan, majestic salsa from Celia Cruz and sharp social commentary from Ruben Blades..."
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