Personnel: Candido (congas); Gran Alfonso (vocals); Chino Pozo (bongos); Tito Puente & His Orchestra.
Liner Note Author: Pancho Cristal.
Candido's first album for Tico is a pure triumph. Fortunately, there's only one crossover cover ("Shadow of Your Smile"), and once that's safely programmed out (or left in as a break), listeners are left with ten tracks of impossibly dense features for Candido, each of which proves how apt his "Thousand Finger Man" title was. The studio band is mid-size, punchy, and energetic enough to prove a foil for Candido's conga, but never overly focused on themselves. Nearly every song features plenty of solo space, and the man finds great things to say even on hoary old chestnuts like "Almendra" or "El Manicero" (aka "The Peanut Vendor"). The opener, "Here Comes Candi," and the side-one closer, "Take More Candi," are two of the most frenetic arrangements Candido's ever been a part of, and they're just two songs on a joyous, celebrative album. Vocalist Gran Alfonso joins the festivities for great features on "Negrito" and the calypso tribute "Back to Back." ~ John Bush