From the birth of El Malo all the way up to The Last Fight, Willie Colón was the most famed man in Latin music, a musical gangster who may not have spent real time in jail, but played up the criminal image to maximum effect on his record sleeves. (Ironically, the only time he fell afoul of the law was when he released Gran Fuga (The Big Break), an album that drew federal complaints for sporting a "Wanted by the FBI" cover.) Of course, his fame never rested entirely on his image, not when Colón records of the late '60s and early '70s boasted the best charts, the best trombone playing, the best chorus of soneros, and the best musicians in salsa arranged behind him. OG: Original Gangster includes a baker's dozen of tracks from 1967 to 1984, the cream of the crop according to any Colón fan. All of the best inclusions from his greatest LPs are here -- "Eso Se Baila Asi" from The Hustler, "Che Che Colé" and "Juana Peña" from Cosa Nuestra, "MC2 (Theme Realides)" from The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, and "Pedro Navaja" from Siembra.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush