Ray Barretto – Indestructible (1973)

Ray Barretto
1973 Fania Records (SLP 00456)
2006 Reissue (FANIA1042232)

1. El Hijo De Obatala
2. El Diablo
3. Yo Tengo Un Amor
4. La Familia
5. La Orquesta
6. Llanto De Cocodrilo
7. Ay No
8. Indestructible

Produced by Ray Barretto
Arranged by Louie Cruz, Eddie Martinez & Louie Ramirez

Ray Barretto – conga, clave
“Little” Ray Romero – timbales
Tony Fuentes – bongo, cencerro
Edy Martinez – piano
Julio Romero – baby bass
Art “Artie” Webb – flute
Roberto Rodriguez – lead trumpet
Joseph “Papy” Roman – second trumpet
Manuel “Manny” Duran – third trumpet, flugelhorn
Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez – possibly maracas
Felo Barrio – guiro (3,5)
Menique – chorus (2,3,4,6,7,8)
Hector Lavoe – chorus (1,2,3,4,6,7,8)
Roberto Rodriguez – chorus (5)
Felo Barrio – chorus (5)
Willie Colon – chorus (1)
Tito Allen – lead vocal


After Ray Barretto’s band essentially fell apart when he was at the top of his game around the release of the `Our Latin Thing` film, he made a brief diversion into non-salsa jazz fusion (The Other Road) and then returned to form with this triumphant record and a new band. Along with the classic album cover, the original pressing also advertised a gimmick of an unbreakable LP made from kryptonite, leading some buyers to have allergic reactions and threaten with a class action suit. Fania was forced to withdraw the indestructible album and reissue it on plain old petroleum product. Now that we’ve contextualized the classic packaging, what can I say about the music? It’s classic early-70s Fania, full of descarga, guaracha, guapacha, and even a son thrown in for good measure. The latter, the beautiful “El Diablo” is actually my favorite cut on here. In the dark nights of the soul when I am battling my inner demons, I drag myself up off the floor where I am huddled in fetal position and turn on the stereo just to play THIS SONG really loud. Then I feel better. The rest of the album smokes and is top-shelf material, but man, this song just gets stuck in my head. There is a also a Gershwin quote tucked in there. I know a bunch of Puerto Ricans in New York playing son montuno is probably not going to cut it for you Cuban-music purists, but too f`ing bad for you if thats the case. Besides I am pretty sure there must have been a Cuban in the band somewhere. It`s a huge band. The new star on this album was vocalist Tito Allen, who makes a believer out of me right away, but the other secret weapon is Latin jazz flautist Art Webb. Art was from the exotic tropical island of Philadelphia and everything he plays is sunny.

The people over at descarga dot net love this album too, with a bunch of its editors having given it praise over the years:

Editor’s Pick:
“A super-duper-must-have! This record debuts his second Fania band and has a bunch of hits on it. Featuring Tito Allen on vocals and introducing Artie Webb on flute.” (Phil Riggio, 98/99 Catalog)
“My favorite Barretto CD with the hot Tito Allan kicking it on ‘El Hijo De Obatala,’ ‘La Orquesta,’ ‘Indestructible,’ ‘La Familia,’ and ‘Llanto De Cocodrilo.'” (Nelson Rodriguez, 98/99 Catalog)
“I love this album as much as I love Rican/Struction, but Indestructible has a charanga undertone that really reminds me of Orquesta Aragón. Brilliant arrangements by Louie Cruz, Eddie Martínez and Louie Ramírez.” (Rebeca Mauleón, 96/97 Catalog)
“Whenever a friend or student wants to know what salsa is, this is the album I recommend. Little Ray Romero absolutely smokes and the piano artistry is second to none. Great tunes, solos, coros and inspiraciones.” (Chuck Silverman, 96/97 Catalog) (DR, 2010-09-01)

You know that when anyone uses the word “super-duper”, they mean business.

Check this out if you don’t already know it!

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  1. One of my FAVE Barretto bands(I liked the band on his "Barretto" release more because it included Ruben Blades as a lead).

    These people swung so good it was sinful and the young lions on vocals and timbales were out of their fuckin minds. Breat pick.

  2. password


  3. amazing,thank you!!
    Your blog is totally insane:)

  4. This is an amazing album. For me, salsa IS cuban music, played by Puerto Ricans in New York.

  5. Anonymous: first: salsa isn't "cuban" music, it incorproates a wider range of musical styles and traditoions. while the cuban "son" is aONE of the roots of salsa, it certainly isn't whart defines.

    Secondly: It wasn't played by "Puerto Ricans" in New York. Ir was played MOSTLY by Puerto Ricans who for the most part were born and raised in NYC, but there were also Dominicans, Cubans, whites, Jews, Panamanians — the full range of Latin@s and they, in turn, contributed the own cultural idiosyncrasies.

    Thridly, these "Puerto Ricans in New York" didn't live in a cultural vacuum — there are elements of R&B, Doo Wop, Rock, and even polka in NY/ Puerto Rican musical expressions.

    Finally, "Cuban Music" isn't really "Cuban." IN FACT, there is ample documentation that jazz rags and Jazz of the early 20th influenced "Cuban music" extensively.

    I find it weird that someone would attempt to essentialize (and at the same time trivialize) cultural expressions as manifested in the popular form. Try reading some Grasmsci or anyone from the Frankfurt school so that you can get some proper contextualization. Or even better yet, listen to Latin@ musical expression as it manifested in the urban enclaves across the world and compare it to the mostly country shit most people call "Cuban Music" and tell me it's the same.


  6. SMH, I am presuming your somewhat aggressive comment is aimed at "anonymous", since I was being sardonic with my original comment, and agree with yours. I am guessing that you caught that.. while "anonymous" didn't. In fact I don't really understand his comment at all but I let it slide.

  7. Love this! Thanks too much!

  8. Could you please re-upload this album in flac because megaupload has been shut down and i desperately am searching for this album in lossless format.

    Thanks in advance.

  9. could you please re upload the FLAC version of this album? megaupload has been shut down so i can't download it anymore.

    thanks a lot.

  10. This album charged right out of the gate and had me chair dancing and it never let up until the end of the last cut. Absolutely top-notch (even super-duper) stuff that deserves several more listens. Loved it! Thank you Flabbergast.

  11. It takes two to tangoat

    This is one of the many Fania albums that were in the HDs I lost! And it's a needledrop of yours!!! :dancing icone: Thanks a lot!!! 🙂

  12. Thank you!! You have a fantastic blog.

  13. the link, please! gracias!

  14. Hi Flabber, can you upload this great album again, please? The link doesn’t work anymore. Thank you.

  15. Could you please re-up? I will beg if I have to. 😉

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