By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor – in – Chief



(Editor’s Note: The year 1968 signaled the kiss of death for original soul and rhythm and blues based in Vancouver, British Columbia. A garrulous gasbag who referred to himself as “The Asshole – of Soul” {or something like that} was one of a handful of gatekeepers who professed to love Black Music…as long as he and those among his clique could control and profit from it!

But as Vancouver burned, the world still turned…)



NEW YORK CITY ( One thing New York City has always been consistent with is the flow with cultures; especially as music is added to the mix.

Whether uptown, downtown, crosstown or out of town (via bridge or tunnel) Black and brown…always got down!


The Latino influence by 1968 had long woven itself in NYC’s DNA. Among Latino youth, mambo and blues were the path they would choose; the rhythm within ’em would give rise – to the BUGALU’ (boogaloo)…




Artists like Ray Barretto, Pete “Conde” Rodriguez and Eddie Palmieri led the charge to the dance floor; you add a little jazz…and your groove is kickin’ azz…

Make no mistake – the question back then, no matter what kind of affair, was, “Can you ‘Latin’ when the groove is there?

Add a little bit of soul to fill that hole, and the beat of the street – was complete!




Musica as “comida del Alma” was being served everywhere; and Rodriguez put it down that boogaloo –  was the thing to do…



You betta believe we “liked it like that.”


The feel of the crossover appeal would lead to an excellent meal; and, as much of Latin music is about food, The Joe Cuba Sextet could not miss with a track like this:


beep beep…ahhhhhhhhh beep beep…ahhhhhhhhhh…beep beep…



(talkin’ ) Cornbread, hog maw and chitterling…

cornbread (ah coochie coochie coochie COOCHIE!)


CORNBREAD (manita comiendo cuchifrito?)







The beat was heard -we spread the word – boogaloo was true!





Back then a house party was not a house party without some Latin flava to savor…




“To beg or not to beg?” was never the question; especially if you could beg in more than one language!

The common threads of declaring and sharing love; humanizing those things meaning most to us – in our own words – made every dance more meaningful; each held hand infused with the desire to make our feelings known…



That life, love and hope can exist whether in a townhouse or tenement:



The emotions which shaped our choices spoken through other voices with greater clarity:


An Afro-Filipino poet spoke volumes as to what the Old School would bring. Joe Bataan, (born Bataan Nitollano) grew up in East Harlem, where he would solidify Latin Soul with peers like Jimmy Sabater, Hector Rivera and The Bronx’s Ralfi Pagan.

Just as The Masqueraders sang as a group the premise of being “an average guy” who loved someone, Bataan spoke for everyone in a love song devoid of fantasy and well grounded in realism for that time:




I can’t move a mountain top
Everything’s ordinary on my block

I don’t drive a beautiful car
And I don’t own an elegant home
‘Cause I don’t have thousands to spend
Or a seaside cottage for the weekend

I’m just an ordinary guy you left behind
Ordinary guy you left behind

Exclusive nightclubs are out of style with me
‘Cause I don’t associate with high society
I don’t hang around playboy millionaires

I’m just an ordinary guy you left behind
Ordinary guy you left behind

Subways take me downtown
My apartment is my home
I spend the weekends with friends
Otherwise I’m alone

Walk hard Pay me no mind
You’re ashamed of me
You girl

Don’t you know that I’m not the guy
Moving non-stop
You can’t see beyond my block

I’m never gonna let you go, girl
Never gonna let you go
Need love so badly


That one would believe the conditions of their existence would not move beyond the block reminded me of the scene in “Purple Rain” where Clarence Williams III says to his wife:

“I could make you happy…if you believed in me…yeah…I could make you happy…”

Because this music came out in what would be my teenage years, the angst connected with crushes, break ups and longing to connect were translated as well:



This sound was not just unique to New York’s metropolitan area; the West Coast translated their grooves in a similar manner, and we will tap into that when our trip across The Soul Map swings to the Left Coast…



The most indelible imprint of Latin Soul, however, has to go to Joe Cuba. In addition to his sextet cooking up one the most infectious grooves of Latin Soul with “Bang Bang,” his lead singer, Jimmy Sabater, would give us a ballad for the ages:






Coming out of our road trip towards Ohio. our first stop will not be the town that would transform into The Epicenter of Funk in Dayton; to appreciate where we are at, we must begin in the Queen City, Cincinnati, which straddles the border with the state of Kentucky.

Another independent label which would become integral to the emergence of Soul was King Records. Unlike Vee – Jay and All Platinum, King’s initial musical focus – was country, which made sense given their location not being far from Appalachia…

Similar to the other aforementioned independents, King had several connected labels. With their beginning of Queen Records, devoted to “race music” in 1943, Black artists on the roster included Joe Tex, Ivory Joe Hunter, Hank Ballard, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and one of the purveyors of “jump blues” (along with the great Wynonie Harris), Ray Brown.

With such a great array of talent, it would have been difficult to emerge from such a group; but when the word ‘soul’ was ever mentioned, it became synonymous with two words: JAMES BROWN.


Next time: “WE LIKE WHAT WE SEE!”

Always outnumbered…never outgunned.

Copyright(c) 2019 Michael – Louis Ingram all rights reserved.


  1. Hey Michael,
    Just saying “thanks” for featuring my Ray Barretto extended remix video in your article about Latin Soul. I’ve been a D J since 1976 and used to do that same mix using two copies of the Tico 45 and would dream of the day I’d be able to create my own mix. I finally did so back in 2013.
    If you check my YouTube channel, “SANCHEZ MIND and MUSIC”, you’ll find several copies of my old Fonseca Records Boogaloo 45’s also posted for your enjoyment. (You’ll have to scroll down several dozen videos on my page to get to them, but they are still up there) My channel is extremely eclectic, as I am also a journalist, radio producer and an activist here in the Los Angeles area. It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to spin any Latin Soul in the clubs> Nevertheless, I still LOVE all the great old Latin Soul-Boogaloo tunes which were all part of my youth.
    Thanks for your interest and for featuring the video in your article.
    Best Wishes,
    Sanchez Montebello – a/k/a D J Sanchez
    SANCHEZ MIND and MUSIC on YouTube


    1. dear Sanchez,

      it’s my pleasure, brother! i grew up with that great music, and it’s high time it is given its just due! thank you for the kind words as we move forward – tengo buen dia!!


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