Ray Rivera

The Now Sound of the Ray Rivera Orchestra

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Now Sound means the high-1960s "mod" style, in this case married to boogaloo. Oddly enough for a key songwriter, Rivera sits out on the arranging tasks, although half of the songs are his compositions. "Sumptin' Like Dat" is the intended Latin-soul or Latin-funk hit, firmly in the style of Mongo Santamaria's Atlantic work. Unfortunately, the gulf between the ultra-deep bass and the rest of the crew is disarmingly wide, making it too contrived, too studio to be truly hip. Just as one hears an echo of Neal Creque or William Allen in that, the sound of Eumir Deodato marks "Afro Girl," a quiet Latin-jazz piece. Musician credits are not given, but considering Rivera's association with Deodato (and Pucho, on conga), it would be a surprise if the playing came from anyone else. "Salt Mines" and "Hard Hats" pick up in the "now sound" style again, but these are merely average examples. "Got My Mojo Working" is the one vocal, again stuck in the mire of studio-musician diffidence. Though a beautiful album of fine work, Now Sound nevertheless tries a little too hard for commercial appeal and comes off dated. But dig the period liners extolling "Afro Girl" as a "beautifully provocative black fox" who "can take care of you."

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