The act that just couldn't be caged, Eddie Palmieri and Harlem River Drive broke into one of America's most infamous penitentiaries for a 1971 set that saw release on two volumes of LPs. For this first volume, Palmieri and company work the crowd with a torrid set of songs, including "Pa la Ocha Tambo," "Muñeca," and a fervent closer, "Azucar." Electric guitar and bass (from Cornell Dupree and Hank Anderson, respectively) modernize the proceedings quite well, and Palmieri's brother Charlie sits in on organ with a special feature for "V.P. Blues." Poet Felipe Luciano also stirs up the crowd, as does Paquito Navarro's declaration, "For all mankind, there should be never no walls, never no fears, only one thing in life: liberty in the coming years."
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AllMusic Review by John Bush