The year 1972 was a banner one for salsa, and this album may have capped all the contenders. All the ducks are in place -- Hector Lavoe's clarion-call voice, Johnny Pacheco and Colon's precise arrangements, lyrics about the rough barrio experience. But the best albums are as much a result of magic as intent, and the magic showed up for this session, too. The tight joy of "Che Che Cole" needs no translation, nor does the dolorous "Ausencia." The album covers may have been controversial, but Cosa Nuestra's place in Colon and Lavoe's careers isn't: it's a -- if not the -- pinnacle.