. issue XXIII : viii .

by barathron

. artist : various artists .
. album : salsa explosion! the new york salsa revolution 1968-1985 .
. year : 2010 .
. label : fania / strut .
. grade : a .


Salsa is one of the USA’s great contributions to 20th century music culture. Yes, I said the USA – although many if not most of the genre’s key figures were born outside the 50 states, salsa is essentially the product of musicians working in New York City. Starting from the deep well of Cuban popular music (off-limits to most Americans after the 1962 Cuban embargo), seasoned with pan-Caribbean folkloric traditions (especially those of Puerto Rico) and with the players’ experience in American jazz and R&B bands, these musicians developed a style that has folks around the world dancing to this day. Fania Records released more NYC salsa records than any label; they’ve just started a licensing program with Strut Records in the UK who specialize in hip, danceable global reissues, and this CD is their first joint venture. It’s a delicious single-disc sample of quintessential tracks from the various subgenres found in American salsa. Every track’s a winner here, but some highlights include the Afro-Latin “Che Che Colé,” the Latin soul “Do You Feel It,” the son montuno “Bilongo,” the boogaloo “El Nuevo Barretto,” and the salsa dura “Ahora Es El Tiempo.”

by Bill Lupoletti