Joe Bataan: Gypsy Woman (original, Futura version) + Latin Soul Square Dance
From Under the Streetlamps: 1967-1972 (Fania, 2008)

I’m very, very proud to announce the new Fania anthology focused on the work of Joe Bataan, Under the Streetlamps. I was fortunate enough to be asked to write the liner notes for the compilation – you can read a teaser here – and as always, it was a pleasure to rap with Joe but also my first opportunity to speak with the great Bobby Marin as well.

I’ve, er, waxed poetic about Joe on numerous occasions, especially here, so I won’t add a great deal (though look for my Side Dishes post this week to go over some of the basics). I do want to bring attention to the two songs above though, both of which are important inclusions on the anthology. The “Gypsy Woman” version here is quite a find since it’s never been released previously and very few people have ever heard it before. Futura was Al Santiago’s (Alegre) short-lived label and a truly missed opportunity since Santiago recorded both Joe and Willie Colon at a time when no one in the Latin music world had really heard of them but he never capitalized on their potential. This version of “Gypsy Woman” is markedly different from the Fania version; it’s quite slower which gives it a very different feel. Maybe it’s just familiarity but I think the eventual version is better than this early attempt but just for history’s sake, it’s cool to hear the first try.

“Latin Soul Square Dance” comes from the opposite end of Joe’s Fania career. This was never released as a commercial single (just promo only) and it’s from Joe’s “lost” Live From San Frantasia album from which the masters are still MIA and may never be found. It would have come out had Joe not finally stepped off of Fania (with whom he was having issues with at the time) and went on to help found Salsoul Records with the Cayre Bros. Again, a really cool track to include since so few people have ever heard it. Enjoy!