Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacheco
Photo: Courtesy of Craft Latino
Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Willie Colon & More Salsa Legends Get Special Vinyl Reissues
Imagine entering a dimly lit room in Spanish Harlem to the sound of horns piercing the thick air. A smiling stranger asks you to dance, and you nod as a singer's warm vocals take center stage, flowing with the dynamic instrumentals. No, this isn't a scene from Santana's 1999 GRAMMY-winning smash hit, "Maria Maria"—this is 1970s New York and Salsa is at peak popularity, and now, possibly your living room, thanks to brand-new vinyl reissues from Fania Records.
Craft Latino, which acquired the rich Fania collection via Concord in 2018, has announced the first batch of special-edition vinyl reissues, due out on Oct. 25 and currently available for pre-order. The rereleases include Willie Colón's 1968 sophomore album The Hustler, Celia Cruz and Tito Puente's rare 1970 LP, Alma Con Alma, and Cruz and flautist and Fania Co-Founder Johnny Pacheco's 1974 collab album, Celia & Johnny.
The fourth record is a live double album by the Fania All Stars, Live At Yankee Stadium. This album features Colón, Cruz, Pacheco, Pete Rodriguez and others from their epic 1973 label concert at Yankee Stadium, which is being released on vinyl for the first time.
As noted in the press release, Alma Con Alma is one of the handful of collaborative projects that GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY winners Puente and Cruz recorded together in the '60s and '70s. "In later decades, both artists would remember these releases as some of the best work of their careers, lamenting the fact that poor promotion at the time caused these excellent albums to go virtually unnoticed," it states.
The vibrant artwork, which you can see in the photo below, has been replicated from the original artwork for this album, along with the other two reissued studio albums. The release also notes this more album reissues will be coming soon, for "an ongoing exploration and reevaluation of the Fania treasure trove."
All albums were cut from the original analog masters by remastering expert Kevin Gray and are getting released as 180-gram collectible color editions from Vinyl, Me Please. Celia & Johnny will be available exclusively via Vinyl, Me Please Classics as their October Record of the Month, while the other three can also be purchased via Craft Recordings.