Leicester Bangs Review (2009):,
This review is from: The Soul Of Spanish Harlem (Audio CD)
Various Artists - The Soul Of Spanish Harlem (BGP / Ace Records)
The latest in a long line of excellent soul collections to emerge from BPG / Ace, The Soul Of Spanish Harlem compiles the explosion of Latin soul that sprang from East Harlem in the mid to late 1960s.
Many of the tracks are ultra rare recordings that sold poorly at the time of their original release and have been sought out by collectors ever since. I can't say Latin Soul features heavily in my record collection, which is one of the reasons I appreciate what compiler Dean Rudland has done here. Ralphi Pagan's "Ain't No Big Thing" breaks the ice with a certified floor filler, but you'll find yourself moving around the parquet to most of the stuff here. The majority of the bands and artists represented were of Cuban and Puerto Rican extraction, and they bring a wealth of influences to these recordings, but without forgetting the huge shadows cast by Stax and Motown.
Put it on at a party and be prepared to answer eager enquiries. Fortunately, thanks to Rudland's informative sleevenotes, I know a considerable bit more about Latin soul than I did a week ago and, as with all BGP / Ace releases, the sound and overall presentation is first class. 8/10.