Tuesday, 17 June 2008


Reviewed for 'Notion Magazine' should be out in July/Aug- Fantasic compilation of Barrio salsa, latin, disco and funk.Compliation released on June 30th, well worth searching out.....

Saona (Peterson and Sinbad Remix) Nora Morales

O Elefante (SSH Remix By PhilipCohan (Gotan) and Haaksman) Ray Baretto

I Like It Like That

Fania Remixed

Mr Bongo

If the devil does indeed have all the best records ; it may be fair to say he spent a considerable amount of time hanging about the inner city barrios of New York City in the 60’s and 70’s .
And if Lucifer was getting’ down at this time, chances are it was to the soundtrack of Fania records, the legendary purveyors of the Latin sound that grew up in the steamy backstreets of the big apple.

Salsa and Latin music, like so many great movements before and since evolved as in a cultural and musical melting pot. In this case as immigrant musicians, from Latin America and The Caribbean, arriving in New York mixed their native styles with the nascent funk, rock and roll and soul scenes springing up in Harlem and Greenwich Village.

Fania is the legendary label that grew up from this spectacular street tough party sound and after years of neglect has been bought back to life with this comprehensive collection of original jams and contemporary remixes. Not to be confused with endless comps of chin stroking obscurity, or insipid acid jazz style noodling, this album is the real deal; a double pack of incendiary party starting funkiness with added conga lines.

The first CD takes the cream of Fania’s catalogue and throws it open to an eclectic bunch of remixers and re editors. Lifelong Latin obsessive Louis Vega turns in a sterling reworking of ‘Mi Gente’ by Hector Lavoe, a deep down and dirty bass and brass jam with a sweet as sugar vocal. 4 Hero turn in a gorgeous and unexpectedly down tempo version of I Didn’t Want to Have To Do It by Ralfi Pagan, worth the cover price for this alone, it’s a sublime slow burner maybe their best work since their mid nineties peak. Elsewhere Ashley Beadle does his familiar but exemplary disco house thang on ‘Feel like Making Love’ by Ricardo Marrerro, providing a dubbed out groover for the discerning dance floor.

However good these reworking are however, slip on disc 2 for the originals, and they feel a little unnecessary. What’s to be said about this collection of dirty, sexy party tunes? The original recording, here all remastered especially for this release ooze authenticity and class whilst never dropping the groove. This is genuine good time music, played and sang with more emotion and exuberance than most so of the endless flow of beat music that gets churned out today.

Tracks like ‘Happy Soul with a Hook’ (the title says it all) by Dave Cortez could surely make even the most degenerate and sour faced Coldplay fan get up and shake their arse. Standout highlights include the good time call and response opener ‘I Like it Like That’ by Peter Rodriguez (everyone’s favourite summer time jam they haven’t heard yet); and the thundering percussion driven groove of Tito Puente’s ‘Watru Wasuri’
So if the devil does have the best tunes like these, I’m throwing away my bible and crossing over to the dark side. This is not only a great feel good album to soundtrack your summer, it’s a fantastic insight into a sadly overlooked genre of music boasting highlights as persuasive and addictive as most of the so called classics.

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