Fania All Stars, "Ponte Duro: The Fania All Stars Story"

Album Review

Reissues from the storied Latin label Fania have been a blessing of the new music era. Fans can rejoice again at the release of the four-disc boxed set "Ponte Duro: The Fania All Stars Story." The release guarantees a revelation for anyone unaware that the mix of styles that became known as salsa was American-born. Just the roll call of players from an early 1968 All Stars show will make the goose bumps rise for those who know what to expect. For the uninitiated, this is universal music so specifically of a time and place that they'll likely listen to all four discs before stopping and remembering where they are. Juicy liner notes and vintage photos help to place the trance-inducing live recordings from the All Stars' sweaty happenings in the New York barrio and later around the world. Tracks include stretched-out versions of classics like "Mi Gente" and "Anacaona," as well as rarities like "Quitate Tu" fused with "Hang On Sloopy" (featuring Stevie Wonder) and Charlie Palmieri's "Kikapoo Joy Juice."