Craft Latino, the Latin repertoire arm of Craft Recordings, proudly announces the release of an all-analog remastered vinyl reissue of Sabor, the electrifying salsa album that established Angel Canales as “El Diferente” – one of the most idiosyncratic and charismatic singer/songwriters in the annals of tropical music. So memorable and unique was Canales’ artistic style, that he gained a rabid following among salsa aficionados throughout the Americas.
Out August 27, the new edition of Sabor was remastered from its original analog master tapes by Phil Rodriguez at Elysian Masters and pressed on 180-gram audiophile quality vinyl. The iconic album will also be released in hi-res digital for the first time, including 192/24 and 96/24 formats.
Born 1950 in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Angel Luis Canales moved with his family to New York when he was only eight years old, and grew up listening to the albums that Ismael Rivera recorded with Rafael Cortijo’s orchestra – a paradigm of Afro-Caribbean singing with personality and flavor. After working as a jeweler and a stint in the army, Canales devoted himself to music. Lacking any formal training, he used the limitations of his voice to maximum effect, perfecting a style that is instantly recognizable: stressing vowels in unusual places, emphasizing lyrics in theatrical fashion and creating a particular groove and emotional connection to the music that draws from previous masters but remains inimitable to this day.
Canales’ recording debut couldn’t have been more auspicious. He was lead vocalist on Markolino Dimond’s 1971 Brujería – one of the most transcendental and atmospheric albums in salsa history. Produced by Joe Cain and released in 1975 by Alegre Records (Alegre was acquired by Fania Records in 1975), Sabor introduced Canales as songwriter, bandleader and star vocalist, featuring a provocative cover with a naked female torso and the bald-headed singer flaunting his love of jewelry.
Arranged by Colombian pianist Edy Martínez, the eight songs inside are hugely flavorful. Canales introduces his players one by one on opening cut “Sabor los rumberos nuevos,” waxes poetic about his nostalgia for Puerto Rico – the mega-hit “Lejos de ti” – and in Ruben Blades fashion, sings about a colorful Nuyorican character on the simmering “Perico Macona.” The LP also includes two boleros – earthy and velvety – showcasing Canales’ natural flair for melodramatic narratives.
Even though Canales’ stage persona was decidedly eccentric, salsa fans of the ’70s were quick to embrace a performer so eager to rewrite the rules of the game. Sabor established him as a tropical icon and the few concerts he offered in South America were wildly successful. He continued recording at a feverish pace throughout the ’70s and ’80s, and later retired due to health issues. Disappearing from the public spotlight, he is now considered one of salsa’s most intriguing figures. His mercurial legacy remains.