When collectors talk about essential Latin crossover albums, this is almost always on the list. One of Ray Baretto's most sought after LPs, and probably most accessible to the funk ear. The monster here is the 8:25 long "Espiritu Libre." That wandering bass line defines the track bringing the musical quality of humidity. On more of the groove side, the title track is also built on the bassline with congas given some at the chorus points. The horn blares at just the right steam and when the piano comes at final minute, the band comes together in messiah like proportions. Masterful. More pop-like are the english vocal tracks: "Deeper Shade of Soul, The Soul Drummers, and Mercy Mercy Baby," but some people may dig their latin soul vibe. 8 tracks in all.
- music label: Fania 1968