Audio Remasterer: Alex Abrash.
Liner Note Author: Ernesto Lechner.
Vocalist Ismael Miranda's fans have been a patient lot. For years they've waded through countless "greatest-hits" and label-selected compilations with some frustration, because many of the artist's true gems were missing. Finally, Fania does itself and Miranda proud with El Niño Bonita, a double-disc, 32-track compilation that includes not only the big numbers, but many other gems, the true audience favorites that have been requested in concert for decades. The reason is simply that this compilation was not only selected by but sequenced by Miranda. Some may regard the choices as controversial, since there are only a few cuts from his 1967-1972 period with Larry Harlow's Orchestra, but the best of those tracks are already featured on so many of Harlow's and Miranda's hits collections, they aren't missed here. (See track selection below.) The vast majority of El Niño Bonita is culled from the period between 1972 and 1983 -- Miranda's gleaming years as a solo performer. There are five tracks from The Master, and four each from En Fa Menor, Este Es Ismael Miranda, and La Clave del Sabor. The rest are taken from other albums, singles, B-sides, and live numbers. Among the many gems are "Ahora Si" from As Se Compone un Son, "Tu Me Abandonista" off Yo No Voy al Festival, "Naci Para Cantar" from Sabor, Sentimento y Pueblo, "No Le Cambien la Estrella" from Una Nueva Vision, and Miranda's killer version of Rubén Blades' "Aunque Me Duela," to name just a few. This set is not necessarily meant to replace all previous hits sets, but to augment them with deep catalog selections and offer a definitive portrait of the artist. It succeeds peerlessly. ~ Thom Jurek
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