It is easy, far too easy in fact, to take pot shots at the Broadway musical Hair without acknowledging its countercultural relevance, for some of the songs dealt with issues of great import like human sexuality, the use of psychedelic substances for anti-conformist deprogramming, and a particularly gruesome war during which young people were felt to be fed like raw meat to a Moloch-like Military Industrial Complex. When in 1969 Edmundo Ros subjected one dozen melodies from Hair to his tidily modern Latin pop and samba formula, the results were surprisingly substantial. "Donna," "Let the Sunshine In," and "Good Morning Starshine" turned out to be conducive to the Ros approach, as did "Hair" and "Hare Krishna (Be In)." "Ain't Got No" comes across as a gingerly executed experiment, and the rest of the tunes employ comfy and even whimsical arrangements as needed. A pity that Ros didn't take on a few more numbers from this show, as one can only imagine what he would have done with "Three Five Zero Zero," "Colored Spade," "Sodomy," and "Hashish." As for the second half of this 2004 Decca/London Phase 4 compilation, if Caribbean Ros seems almost redundant for an Edmundo Ros album title, the contents typify this bandleader's approach to pop culture. Released in 1974, the LP's production formula combined the neat adaptability of Dick Schory, Lionel Newman, and Xavier Cugat with Edmundo's Tom Jones-styled vocals. "This Train" proves that he was willing to sing virtually any melody that took hold in the mainstream for any length of time. "Tequila" is the best instrumental track, although "Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree" and "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" have redeeming social value.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf