Cheo Feliciano

Cheo

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Although he was one of the burgeoning salsa movement's brightest stars in the late '60s, thanks to pivotal work with Joe Cuba and Eddie Palmieri (among others), Cheo Feliciano hit bottom not long after, due to drug addiction. Vowing to quit cold turkey, he entered rehab near the end of the decade and emerged one year later with Cheo, his first solo album and a powerhouse work. He reveals many shades of his personal problems, more along the lines of grief ("Mi Triste Problema") and lost love (his own composition, "Pienso en Ti"). It's no surprise that salsa's biggest stars were eager to help, and Cheo benefits from the contributions of an incredible band, including Johnny Pacheco, Larry Harlow, Bobby Valentin, and Louie Ramirez (the contributions of Ramirez on vibes is especially welcome), plus a coro including Ismael Quintana and Justo Betancourt. The main contributor to Feliciano's vision for his "comeback" album, however, was Tite Curet Alonso, the composer of six songs here (including the two biggest landmarks: the salsa standard "Anacaona" and "Mi Triste Problema"). Curet Alonso was not only one of the most famous salsa composers of all time, but a personal friend of Feliciano's who saw him through his treatment, making his work here among the most treasured of his professional life.

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