Vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; Click Repair with mono fold-down; individual clicks and pops taken out with Adobe Audition 3.0 - dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.
*As you can plainly see, Joey's name is spelled PASTRANO all over this release. This was an error by the Cotique label who rushed it's release. It's particularly odd because they got his brother's name right.
Poster courtesy of herencialatina.com
Joey was a prolific musician whose hits got more radio airplay outside of his home turf of the Big Apple, in large part because of unfriendly relations with the Fania clique who had scary control over disc jockeys at the time. As a teen he studied the drum kit under Gene Krupa, gave it up because it was too much of a pain in the ass to carry his gear home on the subway at 3 a.m., and switched to percussion, soon becoming an accomplished timbalero while playing with Bobby Valentin's group.
This is a very nice album debut for Joey Pastrana as a bandleader, highlighting one of his traits that contributed to his survival beyond the boogaloo craze - he always diversified his repertoire with different rhythms. In fact fact I'm glad he breaks things up, because I often can't handle entire records of boogaloo all at once. Although Joey and his brother Willie (on congas) were young dudes when they made this record, they swing their mambos, salsas,and descargas like old pros here. The title track "Let's Ball", "Bien Dulce," and "My Shingaling" are really the only boogaloos here, and the spectacular track "Rumbon Melon" became something of a salsa standard. Another special treat is Joey's arrangement of Lágrimas Negras (inexplicably written as La Grimas Negras on the jacket and label), a classic tune from Trío Matamoros first recorded in the 30s. The instrumental "Flamenco Olé" allows brother Willie to take some liberties on the congas, and the trombones have echoes of "A Night In Tunisia." The lead vocals on the LP are from none other than a young Ismael Miranda, who made only this one album with Joey in between gigs with the Harlow brothers (first Andy, then Larry). Joey was also ahead of his time having women backup singers in the coro, one of whom was his sister-in-law, Sonia Rivera.
Fun fact: I actually did pay only 49 cents for this record (plus tax!), still sealed in the original shrinkwrap. I don't remember exactly where I found it except that it was someplace very unhip, like a K-Mart or a Sears or one of those department-stores places that used to sell vinyl. It was in the 1990s, when such stores still had some stock, and you would sometimes randomly wander through one and see a bunch of LPs on clearance Like this one, which they obviously had no idea what the hell it was. You're not likely to find this for fifty cents now. So grab this here, burn it to a CD-R and give it to everyone you know, and without an ounce of misgiving: Joey never made a cent off his Cotique recordings, and (as per this 2005 interview) was exploring ways to sue them.
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