May 20, 2017

RhoDeo 1720 Grooves


Today's labels artist conceived last weeks label's name, no recording artist has more impeccable street credentials than Joe Bataan, the originator of the New York Latin soul style that paralleled Latin boogaloo and anticipated disco. His musical experience began with street corner doo wop in the 1950s, and came to include one of the first rap records to hit the charts, 1979's "Rap-O, Clap-O." In between these milestones, he recorded classic albums like Saint Latin's Day Massacre, a perennial favorite in the salsa market, Salsoul, which gave the record label its name and helped spark the national explosion of urban dance music, and Afrofilipino, which included one of the very earliest New York disco hits, an instrumental version of Gil Scott-Heron's "The Bottle."  . ..... N'joy

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Joe Bataan (also spelled Bataán) (born November 15, 1942 in Spanish Harlem, New York City is a Filipino-African American Latin soul musician from New York. He was born Bataan Nitollano and grew up in the 103rd St. and Lexington Ave. part of East Harlem where he briefly led the Dragons, a local Puerto Rican street gang, before being sent to the Coxsackie Correctional Facility to serve time for a stolen car charge. His father was Filipino and his mother was African American.

Upon his release in 1965, he turned his attention to music and formed his first band, Joe Bataan and the Latin Swingers. Bataan was influenced by two musical styles: the Latin boogaloo and African American doo-wop. Though Bataan was neither the first nor only artist to combine doo-wop-style singing with Latin rhythms, his talent for it drew the attention of Fania Records. After signing with them in 1966, Bataan released "Gypsy Woman" in 1967 (the title track is a Latin dance cover of "Gypsy Woman" by The Impressions). He would, in full, release eight original titles for Fania which included the gold-selling Riot!. These albums often mixed energetic Latin dance songs, sung in Spanish, with slower, English-language soul ballads sung by Bataan himself. As a vocalist, Bataan's fame in the Latin music scene at the time was only rivaled by Ralfi Pagan.

Disagreements over money with Fania Records head Jerry Masucci led Bataan to eventually leave the label. While still signed to Fania however, Bataan secretly started Ghetto Records, a Latin music label which got its initial funding from a local gangster, George Febo. Bataan produced several albums for other artists, including Papo Felix, Paul Ortiz and Eddie Lebron.

In 1973, he helped coin the phrase "salsoul", lending its name to his first post-Fania album. Along with the Cayre brothers, Kenneth, Stanley, and Joseph, he co-founded the Salsoul label, though later sold out his interest. He recorded three albums for Salsoul and several singles, including "Rap-O Clap-O" from 1979 which became an early hip hop hit. After his 1981 album, Bataan II, he retired from music-making to spend more time with his family and ended up working as a youth counselor in one of the reformatories he himself had spent time in as a teenager.

In 2005, Bataan teamed up with producer Daniel Collás to break his long hiatus with the release of Call My Name, a well-received album recorded in New York for Spain's Vampisoul label.

Bataan is also the father of Asia Nitollano, winner of Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll.

In the 2006 video game, Driver Parallel Lines, Joe Bataan's song "Subway Joe" was included in the soundtrack.

In early 2009, Bataan was featured in the Kenzo Digital-produced "beat cinematic" City of God's Son. Bataan was featured as the narrator of the story, playing the part of an older Nas reflecting upon his youth in the street with cohorts Jay-Z, Ghostface Killah, Biggie and Raekwon.

In 2014 he met Osman Jr, from French group Sententa which, in collaboration with promoteur Benjamin Levy, leads him to play for the first time in Paris in June 2015 at "Le théatre des Etoiles", followed by a historic live at the "Jazz Mix de Vienne" in France. In September 2015, Joe Bataan poses his voice on the now classic song " My Rainbow " , a soulful bolero composed by the French band. This title was released in 2016 on the album " Paris to Nueva York " .

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Stunning soul from the great Joe Bataan – a really groundbreaking mix of modes that's right up there with the best of the Spanish Harlem scene of the late 60s! The album is Joe Bataan's debut for the Fania Records label – and the start of an incendiary run of Latin classics that forever changed the face of the New York scene – a mindblowing mix of Latin rhythms and soul-based inspiration, served up in a mix of English and Spanish language lyrics! The title track is a sublime cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Gypsy Woman" – one that's even more heartbreaking than the original – and other titles include "Ordinary Guy", Sugar Guaguanco", "So Fine", "Fuego", and the groovy "Chickie's Trombone" – a tight little jammer that shows that Joe's group also drew plenty of inspiration from the descarga scene too.

Joe Bataan - Gipsy Woman    (flac  203mb)

01 Gypsy Woman 2:30
02 So Fine 3:05
03 Fuego 6:28
04 Campesino 3:44
05 Chickie's Trombone 2:37
06 Too Much Lovin' 2:35
07 Sugar Guaquanco 3:55
08 Figaro 3:57
09 Ordinary Guy 3:20

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Singer/pianist Bataan was one of the shooting stars of Latin-soul, that moment when the bugalú and the jala jala made it look as though a bilingual, Afro-Latin New Yorican sound might be here to stay. The title cut was one of the hits of the time, but this 1969 release attested that there was more to Bataan than one hit even though he never really got the chance to prove it.

Joe Bataan - Subway Joe    (flac 249mb)

01 Subway Joe 2:57
02 Juanito 5:36
03 Mujer Mia 5:54
04 Nuevo Jala Jala 5:00
05 Special Girl 2:51
06 Ponte En Algo 5:22
07 Triste 4:01
08 Magic Rose 4:01

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Boogaloo was dismissed by a lot of salsa musicians as brainless and overly simplified, but Joe Bataan's Latin soul went several steps beyond party music, and nowhere is that more clear than on this 1972 release. Bataan gets African American soul music, and he gets Afro-Cuban music, too; when he put them together, the sound had a visceral impact that spoke to every demographic in his East Harlem barrio. What's more, it's still speaking: it's impossible to hear a song like "Coco-e" and not find yourself transported. This is the sound that helped birth, for better or worse, disco and a lot more.

Joe Bataan - Saint Latin's Day Massacre   (flac  275mb)

01 Coco-e 3:09
02 I Wish You Love (Part 1) 3:32
03 I Wish You Love (Part 2) 5:49
04 Para Puerto Rico Voy 5:14
05 If I Were A King 3:54
06 Charangaringa 4:03
07 Ramona 4:47
08 El Regreso 3:03
09 Mujer 4:32
10 Shaft 5:55

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Bataan would take this tendency even further on his influential Salsoul, which fused funk and Latin influences in slick yet soulful orchestrations. Salsoul remains influential as a rare groove cult item, and pointed to the future at the time of its release. The LP embodied the artist's highly deliberate and culturally aware musical concept. Bataan theorized the '70s next big thing as a hybrid: an Afro Cuban rhythm section playing Brazilian influenced patterns over orchestral funk. In many ways, his vision was on the money, though most of the money would go to others and mainstream stardom would elude him.

Joe Bataan - Salsoul  (flac 241mb)

01 Mi Nube 2:47
02 Muchacho Ordinario 4:12
03 Sunny Gets Blue Mambo 3:48
04 Mujer Mia 4:34
05 Fin 2:56
06 Latin Strut 4:06
07 Johnny 4:41
08 Peace, Friendship, Solidarity 4:07
09 Aftershower Funk 5:14
10 Continental Square Dance 5:48

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Anonymous said...

Dear Rho, would it be possible for you to re-upload this wonderful collection of Joe Bataan? (Or, if at all possible, the "Salsoul" work alone?)
Once again, thank you kindly for all of your lovely, admirable work!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rho for re-posting these wonderful works.
Much appreciated, as always.