Aptly titled En Primera Plana (“On the Front Page”) Issac Delgado’s first U.S.-produced album is a mix of old and new as the Cuban vocalist/bandleader rehashes longstanding classics in addition to puling all the right strings alongside a mega salsa star.
“La Mujer Que Mas Me Duele” (“The Women That Hurts Most”), the album’s first promotional cut is a spirited and emotionally-charged duet with Puerto Rican singer Victor Manuelle that explores the whereabouts of a woman that has ran off and left both men to wonder.
The song, which has received significant airplay since its release offers a harmonious blend of arrangements put together by producer Sergio George. Delgado’s tenor-like delivery – although at times not impressive – meshes well with the high-pitched tendencies and improvisational talents of his counterpart.
Not only is it a solid combination – albeit a contrast in styles – it was a smart move, if anything, from Delgado to seek out such a mainstream heavyweight to lead off his initial production in the states.
Delgado also displays range and diversity while getting an assist from legendary bass master Israel “Cachao” Lopez in “Cemento, Ladrillo y Arena” (‘Cement, Brick and Sand’) with a prolonged solo followed several minutes later by the beautiful artistry of pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba.
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Giovani Hidalgo adds a blistering touch on the congas in a collaboration of all-stars that opens as an eloquent son and ends in a chachacha.
Delgado delivers heartfelt lyrics in En Primera Plana (‘On the Front Page’) as he sculls a supposed love interest for not staying true to her words but nonetheless still trying to make her way back to his heart by being “la estrella de la pelicula (‘the star of the movie” and the ‘protagonista de la novela’ (“the lead actress of the soap opera”). He sings with authority and makes you feel as you’re part of his torment – he sells the story well.
The album also includes an extended and soothing medley of some of his greatest hits including “Necesito Una Amiga” (‘I Need A Girlfriend’) and Que te pasa Loco, Que pasa Loco” (“What’s wrong with you Crazy man. What’s going on Crazy man.”) -- Fernando Ruano