RALFI PAGAN

Chris Coyne

When you think Latin Soul you relate to a mélange of R & B and Mambo rhythms intermixed culturally by and for the youth of America. It was 1974, and a brash youngster by the name of Ralfi Pagan walked into the offices of Fania Records and demanded to be heard. Fania President Jerry Masucci allowed Ralfi that opportunity, and …

Ralfi Pagan

Chris Coyne

A little James Brown mixed-in with Hector Lavoe. Inside, a heart full of Latin soul. The Latin voice of New York City: Ralfi Pagán was the young man behind some of the grooviest Latin fusion albums ever to be put down on vinyl. His early seventies Fania recordings stand out as consummate examples of Latin soul at its very peak. …

GUISANDO

Chris Coyne

In 1967 Héctor Pérez agreed to record the album El Malo in order to please Johnny Pacheco, recording director and co-founder of Fania Records. The true story is that the president of Fania, Jerry Masucci, agreed to edit the first albums of Willie Colón’s band with the condition that among its ranks it would have a versatile, well-versed singer, who …

TOMMY OLIVENCIA – LA HERENCIA

Chris Coyne

THE LEGACY TOMMY OLIVENCIA He is another son of Villa Palmeras in whose essence beat strongly the cultural heritage, grifa and cangrejera (crabber’s bomba), of Gilberto Monroig, Cortijo, Rafael Cepeda, Pellín Rodríguez and Ismael Rivera. Angel Tomás “Tommy” Olivencia Pagán will be remembered as a visionary musician with a strong self-identity who, during four and a half decades, knew how …

RAY BARRETTO A MAN AND HIS MUSIC – QUE VIVA LA MUSICA

Chris Coyne

Raymond Barretto Pagan was born to Puerto Rican parents in New York on April 29, 1929. When he was barely four years old, his father decided to leave home and return to Puerto Rico. His mother settled in the South Bronx and raised her three children by herself. From an early age, Barretto was influenced by two styles of music: …

I CAN SEE

Chris Coyne

In Latin music, as with all non-mainstream parts of the US recording business, the ultimate goal is to cross-over. It’s all very well being a big fish in your own pond, but the benefits of a US pop hit are so mighty that any independent label would have trouble turning it down. Until the 1990s it was very much a …

SUBWAY JOE

Chris Coyne

Joe Bataan is rightfully esteemed as the King of Latin Soul. Born in New York’s Spanish Harlem in 1942 of Philippine and African-American parentage, his masterful songs about everyday ghetto life are forever embedded in the hearts of generations of Latinos. Growing-up in the tenements of El Barrio, Joe was exposed to a cocktail of pop, Latin, doo-wop and R&B. …

BAD BREATH

Chris Coyne

During the heyday of the boogaloo and shing-a-ling era, Fania released an album titled Bad Breath by Bobby Valentín, who at the time was a trumpet player. It was Valentín’s third album, following his debut with El Mensajero, which he recorded for Fonseca Records, and the 1966 release of his first Fania LP, Young Man With A… Valentín, who formed …

Harvey Averne

Chris Coyne

There is so much to the story of Harvey Averne and his career in music, that only a book – and I do hope that he writes his autobiography one of these days – could do it justice. The summer of 2009 marks Averne’s 60th anniversary in the music business. At the age of 72, he is as enthusiastic and …