Santana, Molotov, Inspector, Enanitos Verdes, Michael Ramos, Omara Portuondo, Hecho en Cuba, Ely Guerra, and Julieta Venegas

Latin beat

Phases & Stages

GVSB: niñas vs. niños, beginning with the Latin león of Judah, Santana. Columbia/ Legacy's Legacy Edition of the guitarist's debut repackages the 1969 classic with a second disc of "Fried Neckbones," a catalog-milking concept copped from Universal's Deluxe Edition series. The vintage add-ons cement the upgrade gracias to the fact that the original Santana LP was little over a half-hour, and when bolstered with 20 minutes of additional jams, then 79 minutes of original album sessions on disc two, 42 of them from Woodstock, it's FM/LLB "Heaven." Sabor! Repackage applies to Con Todo Respeto (Universal/ Latino), the latest grenade from Mexico City's Molotov. After 2003's career high Dance and Dense Denso, covers like "Rock Me Amadeus," Trio's "Da Da Da," and the Beasties' "Girls" whip up an Eighties-night flavor without much incident, even after Danzig 'toons up in the four-foot form of "Marciano" ("I Turned Into a Martian"). Monterrey's Inspector throws its own dance fiesta on Unidad, Cerveza y Ska (Universal Latino), aka Unity, Beer, and Generic Skank, but should take lessons in old school from Austin's rock steady Stingers. More little green marcianos in the guise of Argentina's 25-year-old Enanitos Verdes, whose En Vivo (Universal Latino) is as perfecto as any Maná live disc and equally sterile. Titles like "multi-instrumentalist, studio whiz" usually signal the same, but in the case of Charanga Cakewalk, Loteria de la Cumbia Lounge (Triloka/Artemis), the man behind the bio is ATX's Michael Ramos, whose "pan-Latin American martini" shakes down delicioso. Buena Vista Social Queen Omara Portuondo is exactly that on Nonesuch No. 2, Flor de Amor. Like Cuban compatriots the late Compay Segundo y Ruben Gonzalez and lively Ibrahim Ferrer and Eliades Ochoa, Portuondo doesn't have a false note in her, which goes triple for the three volumes of Hecho en Cuba (Escondida), starring all the aforementioned BVSCers in island mode. Paraíso. Double that again for the first ladies of Latina roc, Ely Guerra y Julieta Venegas. Following the seduction of debut Lotofire, Guerra's new Sweet & Sour, Hot & Spicy (Higher Octave) conjures Linda Perry's 4 Non Blondes on S&S ("Más Bonita"), before getting H&S down in "Mi Playa" of "Puerto Vallarta." Even harder to resist, "Bésame." Julieta Venegas is no stranger to romance, the Tijuana mama putting it all together on (BMG). Coy, girlish beats rub up against Venegas' accordion, rich acoustics, and wily accusations of romance. The single flaw with is that after 35 minutes, the foreplay's just gotten bueno before the marriage is consummated. ¡Carumba! Sorry Carlos, the chicas win. (Ely Guerra plays Stubb's Dec. 2.)

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