Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Various Artists, Barrio Nuevo

UK label Soul Jazz has a catalog filled with consistently fine collections that document generally overlooked times and places that are rich in musical heritage.  “Barrio Nuevo” (New barrio nuevoNeighborhood) is one of those collections and the disc’s subtitle pretty much tells you what it’s about- Latin Funk, Latin Rock, Latin Disco, Latin Soul.  The CD is primarily a collection of Latin influenced variants and meldings of all of these kinds of music recorded in the 1970s. 

The CD’s booklet makes the point that the geographical proximity of African-American and Latino neighborhhods in East LA and Harlem/East Harlem produced a rich bidirectional interaction between Black and Latino music and the tracks on the collection bear this out.  Among the better know bands on “Barrio Nuevo” are War who are represented by a latin-funk party track (“Me and Baby Brother”) and a latin-disco number (“War is Coming”).  Mandrill, a well known latin-funk-soul-party large ensemble band from the ’70s who have not remained as well known as War are also represented by two tracks, “Fat City Strut” and “Solid”.  A surprise inclusion, and one of the best tracks on the disc, is Patti Labelle’s “Teach Me Tonight (Me Gusta Tu Baile)”.  It’s an atypical tune for Labelle (whose group included Nona Hendryx) for which she added Latino musicians Willie Colon (congas), Pablo Tellez (bass) and Sheila Escovedo (timbales).  Escovedo would later go on to fame by basically selling out her immense skills as a percussionist and doing the fuck toy thing in Prince videos.  Shame, that.  Another suprise is the ten minute latin dance workout Anikana-O” by Kongas that was mixed for Salsoul records by Tom Moulton.  It’s terrific and quite a bit different from Moulton’s more well known disco mixes.  If I’d know about it when I recorded Tuned In To Music Podcast 009 – Tom Moulton (Part 1) “A Tom Moulton Mix” I would have included it in the program.  “Barrio Nuevo” also includes a couple of straightforward salsa tracks for reference Milton Zapata’s “Viva Zapata” and “Recuerdos de Arcano” by Bobby Rodriguez.  And there’s more.

 Listeners who are locked in to contemporary dance music may not find much of interest in “Barrio Nuevo” but if you are looking for dance music outside the range of what is common today, you can find it here.  If you are a fan of Latin rhythms, dance music or ’70s funk soul or disco with a markedly latin bent, “Barrio Nuevo” is one you should check out.

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09/15/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

1 Comment »

  1. […] took the rock world by storm by fusing rock  with latin rhythms and percussion.  Bands like War and Mandrill combined mainly Caribbean rhythms with funk, disco and soul.  Cafe Tacvba has combined Mexican […]

    Pingback by Review: Choc Quib Town, Oro « Tuned In To Music | 06/03/2010 | Reply


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