Willie Colón

Lo Mato

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The last of the classic Willie Colón LPs featuring Héctor Lavoe, at least, before Rubén Blades entered the picture, Lo Mato followed some heavy hitters in the Colón canon (Cosa Nuestra, The Big Break-La Gran Fuga, El Juicio) but proved without a doubt that salsa's new king for the '70s had nearly endless reserves of compositional fortitude -- and the powerhouse band to match. Right in the typical Colón bag were "Todo Tiene Su Final" and "Calle Luna Calle Sol" (both soon to become salsa classics), but Colón and his group mixed it up elsewhere, refreshingly dabbling with samba rhythms on "La Maria" (featuring great comping by the Professor, Joe Torres, on piano) and never failing to keep the energy up, even when Lavoe was sidelined on the instrumental "Junio 73" (which found plenty of solo space for a wild-armed Louis Romero on timbales).

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