Thursday, April 26, 2012

RIOT!   -   Joe Bataan

YEAR:  1968
LABEL:  Fania
TRACK LISTING:  It's A Good Feeling (Riot),  For Your Love,  Muñeca,  Pa Monte,  What Good Is A Castle,  Daddy's Coming Home,  Mambo de Bataan,  My Cloud,  Ordinary Guy
IMPRESSIONS:  Joe Bataan, the self-styled "King of R&B" has provided us with something of a United Nations on this album.  Of course, Bataan himself is Filipino-African American who specializes in "Latin Soul" music.  However, on this album (a gold record smash), Bataan has a different style of music on nearly every track:  from conga, mambo and bossa nova to 50's doo-wop and 60's soul ballads.  Listen to this album now one hears early echoes of the crossover successful that would be had by Miami Sound Machine and Santana while also sometimes evoking Gil Scott-Heron (on "What Good Is A Castle".   
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  It's A Good Feeling (Riot),  Muñeca,  Pa Monte,  Mambo de Bataan,  My Cloud,  Ordinary Guy
FACT SHEET:  RIOT! is Joe Bataan's third album.  Born in Spanish Harlem in New York City as Bataan Nitollano, Bataan briefly led a Puerto Rican street gang called "The Dragons" before being sent to Coxsackie Correctional Facility for a stolen car charge.  After release, Bataan devoted himself to music (particularly his main influences Latin boogaloo and doo-wop) when Fania records signed him in 1966.  Bataan released a cover of Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions' "Gypsy Woman" in a Latin dance version in 1967.  After leaving the Fania label over monetary disputes, Bataan would coin the phrase "salsoul" and co-found Salsoul Records label with the Cayre Brothers.  Bataan was also a seminal influence in hip hop/rap when he recorded one of the first rap singles in 1979:  "Rap-O Clap-O".  After his 1981 album "Bataan II" (containing his rap single "Ling Ching Tong", Bataan would retire from music to devote time to his family and work as a youth councelor.  Bataan is the father of Asia Nitollano; the winner of TV reality show "Pussycat Dolls Present:  The Search For the Next Doll".

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