Joe Bataan

Anthology [Toshiba]

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While this doesn't cover the early years of Joe Bataan's career (there's nothing pre-1973 here), this Japanese release covers a large portion of the hallmark moments that span the fruitful career of Bataan. Opening up with his arrangement of Gil Scott-Heron's classic "The Bottle" is a most obvious choice; following that with the sizzling "Latin Strut" provides a deadly one-two combination that gets things rolling in a very intense way and proves unquestionably why Bataan is a godfather of the Salsoul sound (just as much as Vincent Montana). From there it's a chronologically erratic journey through the man's more club-favored hits, all of which came originally from the Salsoul imprint. Boogie gems such as "Sadie (She Smokes)" (featuring both the single and 12" mixes featuring Jocelyn Brown) and "Latin Lover" make notable appearances. And while including the 7" version of "Rap-O Clap-O" is a smart move, if anything for its historical significance (it's a single some consider to be one of the first introductions of rap music to Europe), one has to question why on earth "Ling Ching Tong" was included, as it's simply one of the most awful songs ever issued on Salsoul. Aside from this small technicality, this anthology is probably the most comprehensive compilation on the market (if you can find it) focusing on the career of this underrated genius.

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