1972 – Ghetto Brothers - Power-Fuerza (Salsa Records) Produced by Bobby Marin. 2018 reïssue on Everland Records.
1. Girl From The Mountain (4:40)
2. There Is Something In My Heart (3:35)
3. Got This Happy Feeling (4:34)
4. Mastica Chupa Y Jala (3:45)
1. You Say You Are My Friend (3:01)
2. Viva Puerto Rico Libre (6:06)
4. Ghetto Brothers Power (2:55)
In the summer of 1972 members of a Puerto Rican-American South Bronx street gang called the Ghetto Brothers entered a Manhattan recording studio and recorded eight songs in an afternoon. Power - Fuerza is an endlessly interesting album, not just in the way that we politely call something "interesting" when we`re not sure what else to say about it, although surely in that way too. Benjy Melendez and his brother Victor were the primary musical architects of the band, and the album bears strong traces of the rising Latin rock genre fused into what Mao describes as "Nuyorican inner city blues." "Viva La Puerto Rico Libre," is an exuberant anthem of Puerto Rican nationalism, and we frequently hear the influence of `60s dance-soul: "Got This Happy Feeling" is one of several cuts that suggest the Melendez brothers had worn through quite a few 45s of Archie Bell and the Drells` 1968 hit "Tighten Up."
But the most obvious influence heard on Power - Fuerza is also its most charming: namely, that of the Beatles. Benjy Melendez and his brothers first started playing music as a Fab Four cover band, the wonderfully named "Los Junior Beatles," and the best moments on Power - Fuerza—the jangly "Girl From the Mountain," the rough sparkle of "There Is Something in My Heart," the startlingly pretty "I Saw a Tear"—all bear the distinct traces of young people who spent the better part of their adolescence steeped in Meet the Beatles and A Hard Day`s Night. It`s a quality that makes Power - Fuerza both of its time and a little timeless, a reminder of the hold that great pop music exerts on the imaginations of young people, the wonderfully iterative dimensions of a Puerto Rican kid in the South Bronx