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Cuba y Puerto Rico by Celia Cruz
Released: Jan 1966
Label: Fania
An exquisite snapshot of the DNA of mid-century Latin music. Already stars, the future La Reina de la Salsa and El Rey de los Timbales dug into their respective cultures: folk and dance traditions like Puerto Rican bomba and plena, sultry Cuban bolero, feisty guarachas, even soulful rock. It's both an ingredients list for "salsa" and a road map of the influential courses Caribbean music had taken. Most of all, it's a heart-pumping exhibition of exhilarating artistry: Puente's timbales are on fire, and Cruz's piercing, incandescent vocals stoke the flames into a passionate inferno.
Rachel Devitt

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