Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Black Havana [Capitol, 1989]
Not a real house compilation, my sources say, and good--bet stay-at-homes enjoy these Kenny Ortiz commissions more than the authentic stuff on Republic, DJ International, FFRR, Great Jones. It's funkier and more tropical than the club norm--salsa, dancehall, rap--without eschewing surefire house machinations. For once the trancey breaks and cries in the night--"Throw 'Em the Chicken," "Like This Like That," the drugged, distorted "Do It Steady"--are as haunting as they're supposed to be. And the way each side breaks into cool, lush escape music is pure coconut milk. A-