Ray Barretto

The crossover king from Teaneck, New Jersey, Ray Barretto drummed in Latin and jazz as well as other projects calling for conga. He played with Sabu Martinez and led several albums on Tico, Riverside, United Artists, Fania, and other labels. Although his signature hit was the proto-boogaloo novelty-pachanga "El Watusi," remade [even more cheesily] as "Watusi '65," Barretto wrote and covered many fine songs in most Latin rhythms.

Generally overrated (particularly his United Artists period), Barretto achieved Latin-soul immortality with two albums on Fania inspired by Pete Bonet. Acid and Hard Hands stand as top Barretto, prime Fania, and vindication of Latin-soul and related crossover efforts. Subsequent Fania LPs have similar moments. Barretto deserves highest credit for working in all styles, pure and hybrid, and for sticking with crossover efforts throughout his career.

Buying: Senor 007 through Power are tremendous classics of Latin soul. Most of the Riverside, Tico, and United Artists LPs have strings. Listed as a sideman, his name is a fairly reliable indicator of quality.

Ray Barretto LPs

5Pachanga with Barretto; Riverside RLP-97506; 1961 (Barretto Para Bailar; RS-93531)
6Latino!; Riverside RLP-93520; 1962
7Charanga Moderna; Tico SLP-1087; 1962
7El Watusi Man--Ray Barretto: On Fire Again/Encendido Otra Vez; Tico SLP-1096; 1963
4The Big Hits Latin Style; Tico SLP-1099; 1963
6La Moderna de Siempre; Tico SLP-1102; 1963
6Guajira y Guaguanco; Tico SLP-1114; 1964
6Viva Watusi!; United Artists UAS-6445; 1965 (notable for a descarga & Latin-soul/guajira version of "Greensleeves")
8Seņor 007; United Artists UAS-6478; 1966 (1st stereo pressing is a deep groove in mono jacket)
7El "Ray" Criollo; United Artists UAS-6543; 1967/1966
7Latino Con Soul; United Artists UAS-6593; 1967
9Acid; Fania SLP-346; 1967 (credit also Pete Bonet; 1st press gold w/possible [far rarer] gatefold; reissued 1972)
9Hard Hands; Fania SLP-362; 1968 (credit also Pete Bonet; 1st press gold)
8Together; Fania SLP-378; 1969
8Head Sounds; Fania SLP-388; 1970 (compilation)
8Power; Fania SLP-391; 1970
7The Message; Fania SLP-403; 1971 (not Latin-soul or -jazz)
7From the Beginning; Fania SLP-410; 1972 (compilation)
7Que Viva la Musica; Fania SLP-427; 1972 (partly Latin jazz)
7The Other Road; Fania SLP-448; 1973 (Latin jazz)
6Indestructible; Fania SLP-456; 1973
7Tomorrow--Barretto Live; Atlantic SD-2-509; 1976 (2-LP; w/guest Tito Puente on side-long "Que Viva la Musica")
Energy To Burn
6Eye of the Beholder; Atlantic/Fania SD-19140; 1977
La Cuna; CTI; 1981 (w/Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Steve Gadd, John Tropea, Carlos Franzetti, Willie Torres)
6Aqui Se Puede; Fania JM-642; 1987

Partly & Sideman LPs

5Average White Band: Cut the Cake; Atlantic SD-18140; 1975
6Ray Barretto & Brock Peters: Mysterious Instinct (Akannaginnagi); Charlie Parker PLP-834 (w/Chief Bey; Brock Peters: Accent on Roots; Strand SLS-1029)
Bee Gees: Main Course; RSO SO-4807; 1975 (on "Winds of Change" only)
7Art Blakey (w/Sabu Martinez): Holiday for Skins; Blue Note BLP-4004-5
7Luiz Bonfa: Jacaranda; Ranwood R-8112; 1973 (w/Airto, Ray Barretto, Stanley Clarke, Idris Muhammad, John Tropea..)
6Juan Calle & his Latin Lantzmen: Mazeltov, Mis Amigos; Riverside RLP-97510; 1961
Lou Donaldson: Swing & Soul; Blue Note BLP-1566
8Lou Donaldson: Blues Walk; Blue Note BLP-1593
8Lou Donaldson: The Time is Right; Blue Note BST-84025
[Fania All-Stars LPs]
7The Red Garland Trio w/Ray Barretto: Manteca; Prestige/Status ST-7139 ("Manteca")
7Eddie Harris: Mean Greens; Atlantic SD-1453; 1966 (on "Listen Here" only)
5Woody Herman/Tito Puente: Herman's Heat & Puente's Beat; Everest SDBR-1010/LPBR-5010; 1958 (Side 1 Woody Herman; Side 2: Latin Flight, New Cha-Cha, Mambo Herd, Cha-Cha Chick, Tito Meets Woody, Carioca)
7Clifford Jordan: Soul Fountain; Atlantic/Atco/Vortex 2010; 1970
4Yusef Lateef: In a Temple Garden; CTI 7088; 1979
Johnny Lytle [Riverside LPs]
9Johnny Lytle: The Soulful Rebel; Milestone MSP-9036; 1971
7Herbie Mann Discotheque; Atlantic SD-1670; 1975 (disco/flute/Moog funk; w/Ray Barretto, Barry Rogers, Pat Rebillot, Cissy Houston..)
7Sabu Martinez: Safari with Sabu; RCA Vik LX-1122; 1957
7Lloyd G. Mayers w/Oliver Nelson: A Taste of Honey ST; United Artists Jazz UAJS-15018; 1963 (organ/big band; prod. Alan Douglas)
6Olatunji: African Percussion--Zungo!; Columbia CS-8434 (w/Chief Bey, Montego Joe, Yusef Lateef, Clark Terry)
5Olatunji: High Life; Columbia CS-8796; 1963 (prod. by John Hammond; w/Dave Pike, Montego Joe, Chief Bey, Willie Rodriguez, Clark Terry)
7Dave Pike: Limbo Carnival; New Jazz NJ-8284; 1962 (w/Ahmed Abdul-Malik)
8Cal Tjader: Solar Heat; Skye SK-1; 1968 (arr. Gary McFarland, w/Joao Donato)
7Tico All-Stars: Descargas at the Village Gate Vol. 1: Tico SLP-1135 (Chocolate Armenteros, Ray Barretto, Cachao, Candido, Joe Cuba, Johnny Pacheco, Charlie Palmieri, Eddie Palmieri, Victor Paz, Chino Pozo, Tito Puente, Barry Rogers, Jimmy Sabater..)
5Tico All-Stars: Descargas at the Village Gate Vol. 2: Tico SLP-1145 (Chocolate Armenteros, Ray Barretto, Cachao, Candido, Joe Cuba, Johnny Pacheco, Charlie Palmieri, Eddie Palmieri, Victor Paz, Chino Pozo, Tito Puente, Barry Rogers, Jimmy Sabater..)
7Tico All-Stars: Descargas at the Village Gate Vol. 3: Tico SLP-1155 (Chocolate Armenteros, Ray Barretto, Cachao, Candido, Joe Cuba, Johnny Pacheco, Charlie Palmieri, Eddie Palmieri, Victor Paz, Chino Pozo, Tito Puente, Barry Rogers, Jimmy Sabater..)
Stanley Turrentine: Never Let Me Go; Blue Note
Charles Williams: Stickball; Mainstream; 1972
6Pat Williams: Think; Verve V6-5056
6Various: Latin Golden Oldies for Dancing Vol. 1; Tico SLP-1097; 1959
7Various: Latin Jazz Dance Classics Vol. 2; Ubiquity/Cubop CBLP-010; 1997 ("Exodus" from Latino!)
7Various: Recordando a Arsenio; Tico SLP-1231
6Various: Soul Oldies--Volume 1; United Artists/UnArt S-21022/M-20022; 1967; (Marv Johnson: You Got What it Takes; Lee Andrews: Try the Impossible; Tune Rockers: Green Mosquito; Garnet Mimms: A Quiet Place; Ray Barretto: Do You Dig It; Anthony & the Imperials: Goin' Out of My Head; Garnet Mimms: For Your Precious Love; The Exciters: Tell Him; The Busters: Bust Out; Anthony & the Imperials: I'm On The Outside (Looking In))

Ray Barretto 45s

5Ray Barretto & the Conquistadores: Viva Maria/What Have They Done to the Sun?; Ascot 2202

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