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by Ian Patterson
The Latin melting pot that was New York in the 1960s and 1970s gave rise to salsa dura, or hard salsa. The neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens and the South Bronx were teeming with immigrants from Cuba, Puerto Rico and South America, who brought together their instruments, fused their rhythms and voiced their social concerns in a hard-driving dance music which would soon come to sweep the world.
The 1980s and 1990s saw a decline in the popularity of ...read more
by Robert R. Calder
It's not clear whether this CD has been compiled with the idea of it being listened to or as some kind of token or souvenir. You can have your own copy of Mamie Smith's Crazy Blues," the first ever Blues recording? It would have been better, in representing the so-called Classic Blues, to have included Ida Cox or Chippie Hill--blues more likely to appeal to somebody who goes for Muddy Waters, rather than vaudevillian ladies. The set seems ...read more
by AAJ Staff
Here's an interesting first: after a long string of successful compilations in the Rough Guide world music series, one that actually falls flat. The subject matter could not be broader--there is probably no single international genre as enormous and diverse as rock. So what went wrong? Johannes Heretsch, the veteran DJ and Berlin radio host who put this collection together, made some borderline picks.
It must be said that these sixteen tracks cover a vast range of geographic and musical ...read more
by Norman Weinstein
There are a hell of a lot of Tito Puente compilations on the market, with those on the Rhino and Concord labels leading the pack, so you may wonder about the sagacity of checking out yet another one. The good news is that The Rough Guide to Tito Puente is well worth your time, simply because it is the most eccentric gathering of the Latin percussion master's work during his prime years from the '60s to the '80s.You ...read more
by Chris May
Subtitled Latin dance with New York attitude," this wonderful, wonderful album presents eighteen choice cuts from the boogaloo craze which ruled New York's barrios in the late '60s. They will make you feel good, feel strong, make your whole body want to dance and give you heart for tomorrow, just like they did for the kids on the West Side all those years ago.
The first truly Nu Yorican sound--a melange of soul, rock and mambo, usually (and ...read more
by AAJ Staff
Jamaica's greatest musical ambassador may have been the late Bob Marley, whose birthday is a national holiday and who continues to sell records in the zillions, god bless his soul (and his estate's massive fortune). The lilting rhythms of reggae have infiltrated popular music around the globe in ways that even Marley could not have imagined, opening ears to other Jamaican sounds like ska, rocksteady, and dancehall. But the island's most lasting legacy, borne out through its pervasive contemporary influence ...read more
by AAJ Staff
The title of this compilation is something of an invention, but it's a good idea and deftly realized. To the extent that the vast area bounded by the shores of the Mediterranean can be adequately sampled on one disc, this collection does the trick: sixteen tracks totaling a generous 76 minutes bring together music from fourteen countries. They range in tone from warm acoustic ballads to quick-paced electric dance numbers, but every piece is something that you could imagine hearing ...read more