Little Joe and the Latinaires: Just Because I Really Love You + Soul Pride + Take Five
From Follow the Leader (Buena Suerta, 1970)
I’ve been up on the San Antonio’s Little Joe for years but somehow, never snatched up one of their records until now. It’d be an understatement to call JosÃ© MarÃa De LeÃ³n HernÃ¡ndez (aka Little Joe) “prolific,” especially if you’re a fan of his tejano recordings. However, while he and his bands likely have far more followers in the world of regional Mexican music, in the ’70s, he and the Latinaires had no shortage of American pop-influenced LPs too, especially Follow The Leader which includes a dozen covers of chart-topping hits of the era. What I adore about the LP is how broad the group’s tastes were. They cover everyone from Syl Johnson to Jerry Butler to The Impressions to Dave Brubeck to Stevie Wonder to James Brown to Classics IV. If Little Joe and the Latainires were a Top 40 station, I would have locked in the signal and then snapped the knob off.