Ray Barretto

Viva Watusi!

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Viva Watusi! packs a great deal of variety and good ideas. "Greensleeves" actually becomes something entirely different as a hip mambo-rock tune. Unfortunately, the use of strings is a detriment, though not as bad as in The Big Hits Latin Style on Tico. "Exodus" gets into some transcendental drumming between statements and restatements of the melody. "Watusi '65" moves Barretto's old pachanga hit toward the brave new boogaloo future. The less commercial songs in between, such as the descarga and guaguanco, ultimately reveal the greatest talent, however. Vocalist Manny Roman does a great job; he sounds very much like Tito Rodriguez on "Eras," one of six Barretto originals. Viva Barretto.

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