Audio Remasterer: Alex Abrash.
Liner Note Author: Ernesto Lechner.
Like most of the other 18 Fania All-Stars compilations (none of which have more than four or five tracks in common), this one is a decent but not definitive collection. For that you need Ponte Duro: The Fania All Stars Story four-disc box set. This is a decently remastered collection of live and studio tracks from the heyday of the FAS' career. There are fine performances by vocalists such as Celia Cruz, Héctor Lavoe, Ismael Miranda, Rubén Blades, and Cheo Feliciano. Highlights include the live version of "Mi Gente," the longer studio reading of "Juan Pachanga," the original studio take on "Bamboleo," the long jam that is "Bembe Colora," and the live "Azuquita Mami." Given the price tag and the remastered sound, this is a great place to start with the Fania All-Stars; for seasoned veterans who no doubt possess all of this material elsewhere, it's superfluous. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a decent mix CD, this will do nicely. ~ Thom Jurek