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Latin soul legend Joe Bataan to conclude tour at White Eagle Hall

From doing street corner doo wop in the 1950s to releasing one of the first rap records to hit the charts in 1979, Latin soul artist Joe Bataan created a style of music that some would say paralleled Latin boogaloo and disco. His most recent tour is coming to a conclusion on Saturday, Jan. 28, at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City.

Bataan is no stranger to Jersey City, performing for both the Jersey City Library and the Fourth of July celebration at Liberty State Park in the mid-2000s.

Some of Bataan’s best-known works include albums such as 1972′s “Saint Latin’s Day Massacre,” which became a big hit on the salsa scene, and 1973′s “Salsoul,” which was named after a term he coined and was also his first record following his departure from Fania Records. The term would also go on to be the name of the record label he helped co-found with the Cayre brothers, Kenneth, Stanley, and Joseph.

The founding of Salsoul Records would lead to more noticeable urban dance music, and included the early New York disco hit “The Bottle,” an instrumental cover of the same song by Gil Scott-Heron’s. The song is remembered for its R&B horn arrangement and piano, which he taught himself to play before pursuing music.

Bataan was born of African American/Filipino parents and grew up in Spanish Harlem. He created his first band in 1965 before releasing his first record in 1967 with “Gypsy Woman” on Fania Records.

The show will also feature New York City DJ Vee Vee, who plays the sounds from the 1950s through the 1970s. Her collection of music emphases soul, rock ‘n’ roll, girl groups, and Latin rhythms. She shares the music she loves through her sets and her monthly radio show on WFMU.

Joe Bataan and Fania Records

Joe Bataan & Fania Records

“He is regarded as the true king of Latin Soul. He is Joe Bataan. His exceptional ability to communicate with his loyal fans has kept Joe on top of hit lists for many years. Joe has the unique talent of being able to combine the R&B, Latin, and Latin Soul genres into his own inimitable style. One of Joe’s first super hits was Ordinary Guy. The Bataan composition describes Joe’s efforts to explain to a classy lover his inability to offer her more.
I don’t drive a beautiful car
and I don’t own an elegant home
I’m just an ordinary guy
These melancholy words touched the hearts of his many fans. Establishing Joe Bataan as the king of Latin Soul and the creator of Latin Blues. He sings about the trials and tribulations of the struggling Latino and black youth from the streets of New York – and ghettos of large American urban areas.
Today, some 57 years later, Joe Bataan and his orchestra continues to entertain throughout the world, giving his loyal fanbase the opportunity to dwell in the past and enjoy once again the Joe Bataan experience.
He has a unique way of delivering his message, whether it be with a ballad like Ordinary Guy or an upbeat Latin Soul crowd-pleaser like Gypsy Woman because he knows what they want to hear… he lived it while growing up in the ghetto. He was one of them once.”– written by Bobby Marin

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