Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Rough Guide to Boogaloo [World Music Network, 2005]
Living east of Avenue B from 1965 to 1975, I probably dismissed many of these songs out my window for the jerrybuilt noise they are--not like the salsa elders who resisted Nuyorican soul jive's silly lyrics and simplified dance beats, but like the Anglophone rock snob I would have sworn I wasn't. After all, I dug Jimmy Castor and Joe Cuba on AM radio, and no matter what hip-hoppers think, I consider soul jazz even cheesier now than I did then. But this stuff is--and, I'm sure, was--a gas. In Spanish, Spanglish, or English, enlisting Batman and covering the Rascals or luring the likes of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz into teen hits no more heartfelt than Perry Como's "Hot Diggity," boogaloo proves one of the purest party musics ever. I can't dance to it even now--the crudest salsa is wiser than my hips, mano. But I love its spirit. A-