Willie Colón

The Player

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During the '90s and early 2000s, when the Fania catalog lay out of print for years, it was difficult for fans of salsa's greatest label to find anything by their favorites without scouring the bins or forking out a lot of money. Emusica's purchase of the catalog in the early 2000s began paying dividends immediately with great album reissues, but it took a few years to produce career compilations such as this one and that devoted to Ray Barretto (Que Viva la Musica). For those with any interest in Willie Colón's career, The Player is intelligently selected and packed with great material. What's more, for the first time, a little context is given, with incisive, knowledgeable liner notes and dozens of photographs. Beginning with a rare single from 1966-1967 originally on the Futura label, the first disc traces Colón's career during the '70s, including a wealth of salsa landmarks: "The Hustler," "Che Che Colé," "Junio '73," "MC2," and more. The second disc takes the story from 1978, the date of Siembra (Colón's most popular record, co-billed with Rubén Blades), and collects tracks from '80s landmarks like Doble Energía, Top Secrets, and his collaboration albums with Celia Cruz (Only They Could Have Made This Album and The Winners).

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