The first thing you should know is that, yes, "Copacabana" is the Barry Manilow song, which gives some idea of the crossover vibe of this album. The second is that the song is still a bit sickly sweet, of course, but Pucho and his latest set of Latin Soul Brothers do a fair job with it, with flutists Mike Turre and Ed Pazant acquitting themselves particularly well. Other oddball covers abound as well, from a sax-led version of Johnny Mercer's "Laura" that has little notable Latin content to a swinging version of Eddie Harris' soul-jazz classic "Cold Duck Time." However, most of the tracks are fairly solid originals, mostly by Pucho himself, given perhaps too-slick treatment by producer Bobby Matos. The songs aren't bad, but the performances sound needlessly restrained. Most of the album lacks the fire and soul of Pucho's earlier albums, making Caliente con Soul a somewhat misleadingly titled disappointment.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason