|This revered and incredibly rare 1972 Latin Rock album by South Bronx street-gang-turned music- group gets deluxe reissue treatment, including remastered audio and extensive 80-page book, featuring rare photos and visual artifacts from gang members, the history of the group as written by cultural historian Jeff "Chairman" Mao, and an interview with Ghetto Brothers founder & president Benjy Melendez. |
The South Bronx's Ghetto Brothers originally consisted of the Melendez family unit (Benjy, Robert and Victor) who came from Puerto Rico to New York City in the 1950s. They had their share of incidents with violence and crime, but Benjy also pushed his crew into uplift-the-community territory.
As Jeff Mao notes, by the early 70s Benjy's social conscience was on the rise; the Ghetto Brothers soon became a force of good in the neighborhood. They eradicated junkies and pushers from their streets, cleaned up parks and garbage-strewn empty lots, and participated in clothing drives and breakfast programs.
They also brought another aspect to their legacy: musicianship. The Ghetto Brothers cooked up a potent musical stew, drawing on British rock n' roll, driving funk drums, and their Latin roots, creating a distinctly New York sound.
The album's eight tracks were recorded in one day at Manhattan's Fine Tone Studios, produced and engineered by Latin studio maven Bobby Marin. Seven of the eight are originals written by Benjy and/or Victor Melendez. The result: a beautiful, absolutely innocent audio snapshot of three brothers, their friends and a powerful musical energy.
"As New Yorkers and obsessive record collectors, we are excited to reissue one of the rarest and most unique records to ever come out of this city. Beyond the amazing music, this reissue also gives us the opportunity to bring an overlooked and extremely important era of New York City's history to a new audience." - Truth & Soul Records