Ismael Rivera / Ismael Rivera y Sus Cachimbos

Esto Sí Es Lo Mío

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Another in a long line of Ismael Rivera albums that united a roll call of salsa stars influenced by him, 1978's Esto Si Es Lo Mio found the bomba pioneer backed by a coro line including Rubén Blades, Héctor Lavoe, Adalberto Santiago, and Nestor Sanchez -- and, as if that weren't enough, several compositions by heavyweight C. Curet Alonso. Nearing the age of 50, Rivera sounds a little hoary in spots, but he carries the day for what became his best LP of the '70s. The arrangements by Javier Vasquez hew to the traditional -- despite salsa's growing flirtations with R&B during the late '70s -- befitting Rivera's humble pose on both the front and back cover photos. Rivera and the quartet of vocalists trade off in perfect counterpoint on "A Medias No," while the opener, "Las Caras Linda," stretches out over seven minutes of fun.

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