A few months ago I had the pleasure of interviewing artist Victor Gastelum for d/visible.com. You may recognize his work from the numerous album covers he has done for the band Calexico. Check out the full feature here. Thanks goes to d/visible editor Joanna Hernandez for the great work she did on the layout and editing the feature.
This will be a first in an ongoing series revolving around the Fania Records reissues. Since Fania released over 1500 titles, it was impossible to catch every one, especially since some have been out of print for quite some time until recently. Having the opportunity to listen to some of these great recordings, I'd like to give props to the lesser known releases in their extensive catalog.
Adalberto Santiago is not a household name outside the Salsa music circle, where his name is legendary. He doesn’t have a tragic story like Hector Lavoe, nor does he have the classic underdog story like Cheo Feliciano, but in the New York Salsa scene he was known as the singer who you wanted on your album, even if it was to sing some “coros”(choruses). He recorded and performed with such legendary artists such as The Fania All-Stars, Bobby Valentin, Willie Rosario, and the late great Ray Barretto, who he recorded several albums with. After the stint with Barretto, he formed his own group called Tipica 73 and recorded five albums with them before forming another influential group, Los Kimbos. In 1977, with the help of Ray Barretto serving as the producer, Aldalberto recorded his first solo album on Fania entitled Aldalberto. The CD is worth getting just for the first two tracks, “Imposible Ha De Ser” (Impossible To Know) and the great double meaning “CaÑa” (Sugar Cane). Fortunately, the rest of the album cooks as well. Adalberto's voice is flawless and the arrangements by Barretto are classic, with an excellent percussion section you would expect from an album produced by Ray Barretto.