Ricardo Ray

Mas Duro Que Antes

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Richie Ray returns to mainstream salsa (not counting his own religious-oriented recordings) and does not bring Bobby Cruz along. Nonetheless, Ray's prodigious piano technique has not faltered, and brings in a product as comparable as anything produced by Ray during his '60s-'70s heyday. Among examples are the title tune (sung by Ray himself), "Juan en la Cima," and "Aniversario" (with a portion of the third movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"). Ray has here an entirely different setup (a three-trumpet line with baritone sax), plus ample use of electronic effects that garnish the tuneful material. The assorted singers (Luis Samuel Prieto, Sixto Aponte, Tito Santiago) may not be a match for Richie Ray's earlier vocalists, but are serviceable and give their all. Richie Ray still can pack a wallop after all these years.

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