The late 1970s found Ray Barretto recording some instrumental pop-jazz albums for Atlantic while providing vocal-oriented salsa for Fania, which was held in extremely high regard by salseros (deservedly so) and has been exalted as the Motown of Afro-Cuban music. One of the excellent salsa LPs that Barretto recorded for Fania, 1977's Energy to Burn, finds the percussionist/producer featuring three male vocalists: Ruben Blades, Adalberto Santiago, and Tito Allen. Between the three, Santiago is featured the most prominently -- Blades is only heard on the haunting opener "Canto Abacua," while Allen has memorable spots on "El Hijo de Obatala" and "Llanto de Cocodrillo." But it is Santiago who provides the emotional vocals on the LP's other five tracks, which range from Barretto's own "Te Traigo Mi Son" to the Arsenio Rodriguez classic "Bruco Manigua." Energy to Burn is among the Fania releases that Barretto can easily be proud of.
Energy to Burn Review
by Alex Henderson