"I am loathe to give a recording 5 stars if it's not very much worth the money. This one is. Adalberto Santiago sounds great, as does the entire band. The recording quality and playing is good enough to make it not sound like a live recording. Yet the energy comes across. A remarkable effort."
zahnmann | San Antonio, TX | 08/19/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is taken from only one night's performance(as opposed to taking it from several, which many artists are doin these days). That in itself is a testament to the quality of live show that Mr. Barretto puts on. All the cuts on this CD are well-crafted and full of energy. Song selection is good, though I definitely prefer Disc 1 to Disc 2. While Adalberto Santiago has sounded better, Yolanda Rivera is who this CD could have definitely done without. She sounds like some drunk at karaoke night. I can hardly stand to listen to the (fortunately few) tracks she's featured on. With her at home and Mr. Santiago singin' better, this CD could've been a five star smash!"
One of the best Salsa albums ever
Frank | NY United States | 06/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a fan of Salsa since the days it was called simply Latin American music, although a more precise description would be New York Latin. I'm referring to the golden age of the 50's with the two Titos, Machito, Joe Cuba, La Playa Sextet, etc.
My all time favorite artists over the years have included Eddie Palmieri and Ray Barretto. In a way, this music hit its peak during the era of the Fania All Stars. I've been particularly partial to the decarga or "jam session" feel. Despite the awful performance of the singer cited by another review here (what happened to his voice over the years?... or was it just a bad night?), the album is outstanding. It might not be as polished as a studio production but it has the excitement that only a live concert can produce. Blows away Palmieri's recent efforts, such as his much too mannered La Perfecta II. By the way, if you love timbale solos like I do, contrast Edwin Clemente's (main) solo (2nd CD, 2nd song) with that of Orestes Vilato. The styles are so different (Clemente plays inside the rhythm while Vilato plays over, and sometimes against, it), yet they're both exhilarating (although I will acknowledge that Vilato has played much the same solo many times before, I think he's still one of the all-time most exciting timbaleros along with Nicky Marrero)! And Barretto's conga solos, although maybe lacking the flash of those of some other congueros, are, as usual, logical and tasteful."
50th anniversary review
Alaun | SF, CA | 03/23/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's good to see Ray Barretto back together with his original singers. Most of the songs on this cd are classic Barretto cuts from the 70's. Some of the standouts on this cd are "El hijo de Obatala" and "Indestructible," which feature Tito Allen on lead vocals. My biggest disappointment was the fact that one of my all-time favorite soneros Adalberto Santiago puts up a lowsy performance throughout the album. Still, this cd is worth having."