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The Queen of Salsa
Enrique Torres | San Diegotitlan, Califas | 11/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With the recent passing of La Reina de Salsa (The Queen of Salsa), Celia Cruz, I broke out many of her discs in my collection and found this "The Best" to be very represenative of the qualities that gave her such a titile. On this disc there are a variety of songs from different periods but most seem to have a more modern sound, as opposed to some older discs from, say, her days with Sonora Santanamera or her recordings with the legendary Beny More. Her Cuban roots are proudly displayed on "Canto A La Habana" as she exclaims early on "Ay Mi Habana, que Linda!"(Oh my Havana, how lovely!) before ripping into a caliente(hot) nationalistic tribute declaring the beauty of her Cuba. On another track entitled "La Sopa en Botella" it is vintage Celia Cruz singing amidst some of best Latin rhythms you will ever hear. The piano solo is amazing. One of thesongs that is associated with her is featured here entitled "Yerbero Moderno" in which she hails the wonders of herbal medicine. There is some fine musicanship accompanying Celia Cruz throughout , undoubtedly this "The Best" has many different personnel so unfortunately it is a guessing game as to who they are because there are no credits with this package. There are terrific Latin jazz solos and beautiful chorus backgrounds but absolutely no credits given. "Pun Pun Catalu" is an uptempo number bordering on a merengue beat that sizzles and you can just imagine the chorus dancers moving about . There are a few songs that sound old like "Yo Soy La Voz" in which she self-proclaims herself as the voice of tropical music and free as the wind that blows the palms. Who would argue with her? "La Dicha Mia" is an autobiographial song n which she explains her day and how she daily gives thanks for her life. She goes on to say that her life has been blessed , singing about her new life early on in New York and playing with Tio Puente and meeting her husband. She was blessed and as a result shared her blessings with all through her joy for music. The disc closes out with a celebratory song entitled "Latinos en Estados Unidos" which is song singing about how grateful Latinos are for being in a country with so much freedom and liberty but how we should maintin our heritage, including language and be united. It is a great ending to a wonderful collection of songs by La Riena de Salsa(The Queen odf Salsa) that belongs in any collection of salsa or Latino music. The cover features her beautiful tooth gaped smile, dark skin and glistening multi-layered jewelry that completly covers her neck and hangs nearly to her cleavage with a beautiful frosted wig; she was a lovely talented woman who will be sorely missed. Recommended for salseros worldwide."