Cortijo y Su Combo

El Alma de un Pueblo

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AllMusic Review by

Superlative re-creation of the days of television, where the group was highly popular (El Show del Mediodía, telecasted by WKAQ-TV, Channel 2, San Juan, Puerto Rico), where the newly recorded voice of DJ Polito Vega is combined with actual live performance by the band on television. Ismael Rivera is nothing short of sensational on the mambo version of "Volare"; his brilliant improvisations clearly anticipate the soneros that would come in the future from Marvin Santiago, Chamaco Ramirez, Simón Pérez, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Luigi Texidor, etc. Kito Velez' peerless solo interpretation of "Bahia" by Ary Barroso is outstanding; an exceptional sample of how the most important popular music band of Puerto Rico in the '50s sounded live. Note: in the original LP edition, a mambo version of "Tequila" was featured, along with the tunes "Almendra" and "Virginia." There are some cassette versions that have it included; they are worth hearing.

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