Fania Records is one of the most legendary labels in the history of Latin music; it’s responsible for the widespread popularization of what would become salsa music in the ’60s and ’70s. Founded by musician Johnny Pacheco and lawyer Jerry Masucci as a Latin answer to Motown, the label released albums from the likes of Celia Cruz, Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, the Fania All-Stars supergroup, Tito Puente, and Pacheco himself. You can randomly pick any album in the Fania catalog and know that you are going to hear some of the best Latin music you’ve ever heard, played by people devoted to salsa music.
For the label’s 55th anniversary, Vinyl Me, Please has partnered with Fania for a series of reissues.
The first three of VMP x Fania titles are available today in the VMP store, and were remasted all analog by Kevin Gray at Cohearant. The first is The Fania All-Stars’ Live At Yankee Stadium 1 & 2, a combining of the two albums recorded during the Fania tour stop in the Bronx. The show is infamous for Fania fans storming the field and breaking barricades, and you can listen to the fiery takes included here and feel that feeling yourself. Here’s a clip from the performance:
The second title is The Hustler by Willie Colon, which Vinyl Me, Please has covered extensively on our Magazine. It’s considered by many to be the “Big Bang” of Salsa, the album that brought the music to the world. Here’s a sampling:
The third title is Alma Con Alma, a joint album between the female star of Fania — Celia Cruz — and the god of the timbales, Tito Puente. Check that title out here:
And finally, at the end of September, Vinyl Me, Please will announce the Classics Record of the Month for October: A reissue of Johnny Pacheco and Celia Cruz’s Celia y Johnny. You can learn more about VMP Classics here (sign ups for the Fania title won’t start until September 26). You can buy Willie Colon’s The Hustler here, Live at Yankee Stadium here, and Alma Con Alma here. You can also check out our Fania T-shirt over here.