Bobby Cruz / Ricardo Ray / Ricardo Ray & Bobby Cruz

Los Durisimos (The Strong Ones)

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During the mid-'60s, many audiences found themselves faced with two musical forces -- Latin and rock & roll. Since both genres were equally strong, mainstream expressions, the best thing to do was to include a little of both, and this LP was one of the many efforts of Latin bandleaders to maintain themselves in the midst of the ever-powerful rock phenomenon. It is, however, a noble achievement, and they manage to be interesting on both side of the musical coin. Among the special Latin moments to be found are "Agallu," "Quedate con Nosotros," and the Cuban tune "Yo Soy (Babalu)"; the Latin music is further enhanced by rockish alternatives like "Lighten Up Baby" and their versions of pop hits like "Ma Vie" and "Lazy Day." This is one of Ricardo Ray & Bobby Cruz's most unusual albums as far as content; however, they remain as invigorating as their most mainstream, all-Latin efforts. Interestingly enough, in lowercase printing appear the words salsa y control, signaling one the earliest uses of the word "salsa" as a descriptor of the music on record.

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