Ray Barretto’s Hard Hands, the sequel to Acid, was released in 1968. He had come up as a conguero, working for Tito Puente and others but went solo after he had a hit with “El Watusi” in 1961. Perhaps because of the strong R&B component in his music, the vocals are in English, which obviously would give it a broader appeal in New York’s radio airwaves of the time, particularly among the African-American community. The title cut refers to the thundering power of Ray’s conga-playing, a nickname that would forever stick with him, and is followed by “Abidjan”, one of Ray’s biggest hits, a tribute to the Ivorian capital from which he had recently returned from exploring. The sounds of Mozambique, Mambo, Boogaloo, Funk, BembÃ©, and Soul are perfectly blended on this album making it an essential selection from the Fania catalog.