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Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012

Ghetto Brothers

Power Fuerza (Truth & Soul Records)

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Although the Ghetto Brothers released only one LP before vanishing, they left at least a small legacy. Power Fuerza (1971) became a rarity prized by collectors. The Brothers’ back story as a Puerto Rican gang that brokered a truce in the Bronx led to connections with Africa Bambaataa and the stirring, in a few years, of rap.

Power Fuerza
has finally been reissued on CD. The booklet tells the gang-band’s story and the music proves why collectors sought the LP: the Brothers were outstanding songwriters and performers. Already a little anachronistic in 1971, they coupled British Invasion garage pop with fuzztone and a Latin percussion rumba line. Harmonies sometimes echoed street corner doo-wop as much as the Beatles. Surprisingly, given their ardent Puerto Rican nationalism, most of the songs were sung in English.