Tito Puente

The Essential Tito Puente

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An essential collection for most artists would consist of 12 or perhaps even 20 songs. For the man described as "El Rey," however, a man who recorded over 100 LPs during a career that touched seven decades, the parameters need to be widened significantly. And so comes this two-disc, 40-track collection from RCA/Legacy, focusing on Puente's prime of the mid-'50s but dipping into 1949 material to survey the beginning of his career and also selecting a lone track from the '60s -- "Oye Como Va," his most familiar performance (thanks, in part, to Santana's hit cover). Aside from the breathtaking pair of Complete RCA Recordings boxes, The Essential Tito Puente is the best place to acquire a raft of Puente's best and most famous recordings -- "Ran Kan Kan," "Picadillo," "Cao Cao Mani Picao," "Pa' los Rumberos," "Hong Kong Mambo" (actually an alternate take), "Dance Mania," and "Ti Mon Bo."

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