Not so long ago, the fate of Cuban salsa superstar Manolín depended on the whims of a dictator and the policies of the INS. Would he stay? Would he go? Now, permanently settled in Miami, the only question that matters is, will he sell?
Certainly if anyone has the cure for common music-biz ills, it's the Salsa Doctor. In the mid-Nineties, he was the biggest-selling artist of all time on the island of Cuba. His first U.S. production, El Puente (The Bridge), released last month by local label Ciocan, has already made an appearance on the Billboard charts. But that's not why you should buy this live double CD of the Doc's biggest hits, recorded in November 2001 at Rancho Gaspar, Hialeah Garden's rustic family disco spot. No, you should buy it because no one knows how to heat up a dance floor better than the Doctor, and this beautiful recording brings all the hip-swiveling fever right home to you.
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But if you'd like a second opinion before taking this timba transfusion, stop in at El Médico's CD-release party on Halloween at Café Nostalgia. No, there won't be any ghosts or goblins, but you're sure to hear bones rattling when the Doctor sings his monster hit: "La Bola."