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Boomkat Product Review:
This was percussionist and composer Ray Barretto's second album for Fania, dating back to 1968. By this point Barretto had already established himself as a leading light in New York's burgeoning Afro-Cuban and boogaloo scenes, and Hard Hands saw him laying on street-level funk and swinging salsa rhythms. Although there's a mighty big band format to these recordings, Barretto's own conga performances are prevalent in the mix, effectively framing the other instruments, making the rhythms sound characteristically heavy and authoritative. Some of the best-known, most celebrated tracks from Barretto's repertoire are featured on Hard hands, including 'Son Con Cuero' and 'Mi Ritmo Te Llama', not to mention some more pop-oriented departures from the core latin jazz sound, including the James Brown influenced 'Got To Have You' and 'New York Soul'.