LaVoe and Willie Colon came blazing out of the bugalu era and wrote a new script for New York salsa during the late '60s and early '70s: a script that included Puerto Rican and Panamanian graftings on the basic Cuban scion, and a tough lyricism that spoke of "barrio" problems to a "barrio audience". Then the pair split, and eventually Ruben Blades filled LaVoe's place in the Colon band's developing persona. Now – for this album at least – LaVoe and Colon are back together with that fat, macho trombone sound and the old width of reference (including a splendid plena, "En el Fiando.")
Héctor Lavoe was born to sing. As Latin music evolved from the boogaloo of the late '60s to the salsa boom of the '70s, Lavoe was at its forefront and "El Cantante" (the singer) of some of its most representative songs. Born Héctor Juan Perez in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on September 30, 1946, he was influenced by the Latin singers he heard on the radio, Daniel Santos and Chuito el de Bayamon, just to name a couple. As he grew more involved in music, he drew his inspiration from Puerto Rico's great sonero Ismael Rivera, as well as Cheo Feliciano. These influences are obvious in Lavoe's singing style: he attacks the son and montuno like the masters Rivera and Beny Moré, but Lavoe's natural talent for improvosation made him unique and very popular with salsa fans.
The Puerto Rican singer Héctor Juan Pérez Martínez (Ponce, 1946-1993), aka Hector 'Lavoe', was the most recognized, prestigious and imitated of the 'salsa music, which marked the summit to imitate by many salsa singers in later years. After starting with the Willie Colón band, Lavoe finished launching his solo career with his own band in 1975, which lasted successfully until the late 80s. This album features a collection of fifteen of the biggest hits of his career, especially 'El cantante', that became his logo theme.