Salsa Music - What

Here's a list of Salsa music cd's that I think will give a start to the novice collector. Most are compilations because they'll give you a taste of a variety of artist. From these you'll learn the names of artists that you like the sound of a be able to explore other recordings by that artist.

Most of the music here is Puerto Rican or New York in origin since that's our own preference.

Title: Salsa Dance Hits
Artist: Various
Label: Fania
Another double album compilation of Fania artists straight from their archives. The album collects well known and some not so well know artist together binding them with pure Salsa grooves. There's some of the typical 70's favourites in the form of Ray Barretto's Acid and Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacheco's Quimbara mixed in with several lesser know drop dead tracks in the form of La Humanidad from Latin Tempo and Orlando Watussi with a Ustedes Mi Rumba Y Yo from his only Fania album.

The album is available for a shockingly low price of £3.99 from
Title: DJ Lubi Presents Salsa Dura
Artist: Various
Label: Freestyle Records
A hard hitting Salsa Dura(Hard Salsa) compilation album is your face from it's opening track Oscuridad by Johnny Polanco & Conjunto Amistad. pushing hard and brash through Bio Ritmo's Atrevete and onto a driving climax with Wille Villega and his Inventamos. There's no let up, the energy in each and every track will leave you breathless by the end.

If you like you Salsa hard hitting, full faced full of blaring brass then this compilation is for you. It's available from for a measily £13. It's also available on mp3 download if for some unknown reason you don't want all of the tracks also from Amazon.
Title: NYC Salsa
Artist: Various
Label: Fania
The first in the series of conpilations covering the the golden age of Salsa. The 2 disc album covers material from the big names of Sonora Ponceña, Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe through to the lesser known of Cabrerita Y Sus Ideas. The album stretches a period from 1965 to 1980 and is full of solid hard hitting tunes. The read deal for real Salsa affectionardos. It's got Tito Puente's classic Nina Y Senora which for me makes it worth the price of the album! Other excellent tracks include Baby Gonzalez's excellent version of Asi Es La Humanidad and Con Los Pobres Estoy by Roberto Roena and his orchestra.

This album is widely available on for just over £10. It's also available as an mp3 download from as well.
Title: NYC Salsa 2
Artist: Various
Label: Fania
The second in the NYC Salsa series. This time only a single cd butr again full to the brim with excellent tracks from the 70's boom days of Salsa. For a newby collector this album is an yet another excellent introduction into the the Classic era of Salsa. Tracks include the awesome Aguzate by Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz, the high energy El Remolon of Cabrerita. Alfredo Vargas makes an appearance with the brilliant, driving Arenque

This album isn't as easy to get hold of on CD for some reason but is available on mp3 download from for just over $8.99 or $0.99 per track - bargain!.
Title: NYC Salsa 3
Artist: Various
Label: Fania
The third in the series (and my favourite) of New York City compilations covering the the golden age of 70's Salsa. Yet again the compilation delivers a real insight into this period of music history that brought Salsa from barrios and into the mainstream. As always with the NYC series a wide range of artists are covered some more well known than others. This album brings us the likes of Pete Bonet & Louie Ramirez with there classic De'se Mismo Trago and Tipica '73s excellent Baila Que Baila. The album closes out as it opened with the tough gritty brass laden Avisale by the little known La Muralle. Just too many fat meaty tracks on one album, can't recommend this album enough.

Again like the second volume this album isn't as easy to get hold of on CD for some reason but is available on mp3 download from for just over $8.99 or $0.99 per track - bargain!.
Title: Congreso Bacardi De La Salsa
Artist: Various
Label: Cookita Records
This compilation was put together by Henry Knowles a World renown DJ.
A nice mix of tracks by some of the top Latin artists including Jose Alberto, Eddie Palmieri and Oscar D'león. With not one filler track on the whole album it's hard to pick favourites but of note are the classic tracks; Baila Que Baila by Jose Alberto and Malaguena Salerosa by Eddie Palmieri.
Title: The Very Best of Salsa
Artist: Various
Label: Nascente
An excellent collection of New York/Puerto Rican based Latin music on a 2 CD compilation put together by UK renown DJ Lubi.
The first CD is a collection of 70's classic Salsa including Hector Lavoe's Soy Vagabundo and La Musica Es Mi Vida by Johnny Zermot.
The second CD contains tracks from the last 5 years. The opening track, 'A La Hora Que Me Llamen Voy' a Jose Alberto classic is worth the price of the whole compilation! Package that track up with tracks from George Delgado, Jimmy Bosch, Los Soneros Del Barrio and many more you've got a treasure trove of tracks to start your collection.
For less than £7 ( + P&P you can't go wrong.
Title: Beginner's Guide to Salsa, Vol 1, 2 & 3(2008)
Artist: Various
Label: Nascente
This 3 series compilation is unbelievable value for money. You can get all 3 from for a total price in the region of £2. Thats 9 cds, 100 tracks, over 600 minutes of pure Salsa loveliness for just 20 quid. The series covers a wide range of Salsa styles and tempos, a real introduction for novice collectors and dancers a like. There's modern day artist such as Jimmy Bosch - La Cacharra and The Spanish Harlem Orchestra - La Música Esa Mi Vida along with Old School Classics such as Las Parabolas by Louie Ramirez and Mi Gente by Hector Lavoe.

Can't go wrong at this price - even if you just use them for fancy drinks coasters!
Title: Salsa Fresca! Dance Hits of the '90s
Artist: Various
Label: Rhino
This compilation is getting a bit long in the tooth (first released 1996). However it's still worthy of a place in a start up collection if for nothing else other than the timeless classic, Pa' Bravo Yo by Pupy Santiago
Many of the experienced dancers in the UK were brought up on the tracks contained on this CD. How many times did we hear tracks such as Lluvia - Eddie Santiago and Bailando - Frankie Ruiz played as we struggled to put together basic steps?
Title: Soneando Trombon
Artist: Jimmy Bosch
Label: Ryko Latino
One of the first albums I ever purchased. I play it more today than ever, a timeless classic which the artist seems unable to match with his subsequent work. All killer with no filler as the expression goes. Tracks include the all time classic Otra Oportunidad and Padre Soy. Any collector without this album isn't a real collector simple as that!
Title: Un Gran Día En El Barrio
Artist: The Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Label: Ropeadope
The Orquestra led by Oscar Hernandez consists members consist of some of the top recording artists currently on the scene including Trombonist Jimmy Bosch, George Delgado on Congas and the superb Frankie Vasquez on Vocals. 'Un Gran Dia' is their debut album and what a debut. The album consists of covers of classic 70's tracks such as 'Mama Guela' and 'Pueblo Latino' and are finely executed. The Orquestra regular tour and have visited the UK on several occasions, if you get the chance to see them live then jump at it - awesome performances.