Our Latin Thing 2 is part of Fania’s re-issue campaign, Fania being the record label that is to salsa “what Def Jam is to hip hop,” at least according to Louie Vega. It was founded in 1960s New York by Jerry Masucci and Johnny Pacheco Fania and went on to become the home of Celia Cruz, Tuti Puente and Ray Barretto.
The re-issues consist of never heard before material, re-mastered classics, some limited release DJ mixes by the likes of DJ Format, Bugz in the Attic and Ashley Beedles, and a series of samplers such as this.
Our Latin Thing 2 is an intro to the early work of Fania and 1970s New York – a time when soul, jazz and funk were finding a footing in the Latin scene. Tracks such as Ralph Robles’ ‘Come and Get It’ and Monguito Santamaria’s ‘Ne Ne’ simply ooze cool, though in very different ways; the former with its bouncy piano riffs and sexy horns topped with Robles’ smoky vocals, the latter with its bongo rhythms and fast flowing lyrics.
The collection is only part of the picture (volumes 2, 3,4 . . . are due out over the coming months) but it works well as a bite sized chunk of salsa history.