Joey Pastrana

Joey in P.R.

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It's unclear what literal connection this album has to Puerto Rico, other than a few visits by native Puerto Rican Joey Pastrana and his orchestra in the years before it appeared. The music wasn't recorded live, and doesn't even focus much on salsa, at least any more than other albums in the Cotique/Fania label axis during the late '60s. The two side-openers ("Hugo" and "Asi Na Ma") are the only songs close to the breakneck salsa preferred by Puerto Ricans, while a pair of odd, poorly performed covers (the Beatles' "Yesterday" and Charlie Parker's "Parker's Mood") don't help matters. (Admittedly, the former has an intriguing coda that somehow makes lyrics like "sock it to me baby, and bring it on home to me" work in context.) Yet another puzzling choice is "Sid's Walk," a popcorn tribute to uptown N.Y.C. imprimatur Symphony Sid.

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