Various Artists: Fania Records 1964-1980: The Original Sound of Latin New York

Various Artists: Fania Records 1964-1980: The Original Sound of Latin New York
Founded in 1964, Fania Records cultivated salsa music in America. Although the label still exists, its heyday was considered to be from 1964-1980. This heyday is encapsulated by Strut Records new two CD set, The Original Sound of Latin New York.
The album takes the listener through an audio history of the label. It starts off with a track from the label’s founder, Johnny Pacheco. It continues to go through the label’s activity in the 1960s with tracks from the likes of Larry Harlow, Joe Bataan, Ray Barretto, Bobby Valentin, Willie Colon, and Roberto Roena.
The 1970’s portion of the label’s catalog is perhaps the most impressive. The label’s most successful and well selling artist was The Fania All Stars. The group was assembled by Johnny Pacheco and featured many of the label’s 1960s talent in one supergroup. The compilation features two tracks by the group: a 1970 live version of “Quitate Tú” and 1980’s “Cuando Despiertes.” Both tracks show the vivaciousness of the genre. Imparticular the live track really shows off how popular salsa music is, with the roar of a crowd audible after every solo.
As the 1970s wore on, Fania Records began releasing many more latin-tinged disco records. The Original Sound of Latin New York does a great job of avoiding including any of these records. It is not to say these records are not good, but they do not show off the bread and butter of Fania Records. Because of those tracks exclusion, the 2 CD set really is the perfect introduction to the salsa genre.
Rating: 8.3/10
MP3: The Fania All Stars “Quitate Tu (Live)”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!

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