Joe Bataan Mr. New York and the East Side Kids (Limited)
- Released: July 4, 2006
- Originally Released: 2006
- Label: Fania
Entertainment Weekly - p.88"[The CD] moves between brass-and-conga driven dance tunes, jazzy bilingual hybrids, and English-language pop flashing Latin roots..." -- Grade: B+
Down Beat - p.753.5 stars out of 5 -- "When it came to boogaloo, few artists matched the success and style of Joe Bataan."
- 1.My Opera
- 2.Aguanta la Lengua
- 3.Chili Beans
- 4.When We Get Married
- 5.The Prayer
- 6.Puerto Rico Me Llama
- 7.Es Tu Cosa
- 8.Make Me Smile
- 9.More Today Than Yesterday
- 10.Juan Juan Lechero
Personnel: Joe Bataan (vocals, piano); Freddie Delgado (vocals); Willie "Newark" Sinclair (guitar); Robert Rodriguez (flute, saxophone); Robert Lemas, Eddie Hernandez (trombone); Louie Devis (bass guitar); Eddie Nater (drums, timbales); Latin Joe Colon (congas); Milton Albino (percussion); Celso "Ceasar" Galarga.
Joe Bataan shot to popularity in Latin music circles by covering soul hits, starting with a radical revision of Curtis Mayfield and the Impression's "Gypsy Woman" that's brassy and built around the chorus. He also ethnicity-switches Aretha Franklin to "Young, Gifted and Brown," and his version of "Shaft" floats Latin horns and flute over that circular rhythm undercurrent. The liner notes focus on his "Joe the Rebel" persona, and one trademark is a rowdier edge than most Latin musicians. Tracks like "Muneca" and "Mambo de Bataan" fall within the canon but their energy (check the former's rat-a-tat-tat bridge) and blowsy trombones add an extra kick, just as the ragged loose ends in the vocals don't detract from the locked-down-in-clave-city pocket of "Aguanta La Lengua." "Magic Rose" has a brassy trombone solo over a strong piano hook that's off-kilter from the Latin norm, but totally killer at hip level, while "Chili Beans" is just a fine example of a lean, clean Latin soul instrumental. "Riot (It's a Good Feeling)" is pretty oddball, though, since it seems to celebrate dancing in the streets more than running wild in them. "Good good feeling" is the chorus over a bring-it-on-home gospel foundation riff and the very Latin R&B/rock & roll feel recalls Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels' take on "Little Latin Lupe Lu." "Subway Joe" is a pure N.Y.C. street life tale about hitting the subway for Chinese food and getting into a funny subway battle with a pretty girl who physically kicks his butt with blaring trombones over a frenetic rhythm. "My Opera" is a story song that builds drama with dynamics and tempo shifts but doesn't rate the "sicko song" label it gets in the liners (which are sketchy, marred by inaccuracies, and spend more time on Bataan's later career than his Fania stint or these tracks.) "Special Girl" is a nice salsa ballad, and "What Good Is a Castle" goes from slow part one to rip it up a bit on part two. The CD version of Mr. New York takes the original LP -- Joe Bataan's debut Fania LP -- and tacks on seven of his most popular songs from his eight albums for the label at the end. Good move -- the original LP selections are solid enough, but they lack the catchiness of the hits, and the extra tracks add a lot, especially for Bataan neophytes. Mr. New York winds ups a bit scattershot, but adding those hits from the latter stages of his Fania stay turn this disc into a makeshift, de facto, best-of collection. It's not the comprehensive one Joe Bataan probably deserves, or maybe not even an ideal introduction to his music, but it's a good one with a lot of strong performances that illuminate the late-'60s Latin soul era. ~ Don Snowden
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