“Call My Name” – Joe Bataan
When Bataan Nitollano, better known as Joe Bataan, was fifteen he was already giving orders as the leader of East Harlem street gang The Dragons, til one bad luck night he got busted driving around town in a stolen car and spent the next five years in Coxsackie State Prison. When he finally got out in ’65, he used the music skills he’d developed while locked up to fuse Latin rhythms with R&B, helping to mold Latin soul. Later, when disco was on the rise, he released “Rap-O-Clap-O,” an early disco-rap tune, resulting in one of the first ever hits in the nascent days of hip-hop. Shortly after, he became a counselor for at-risk youth and went musically mute, staying silent for 20 years before returning with this track and its accompanying album, recorded at Daptone studios in NYC. It was a hefty wait, but worth it, the results every bit as soulful as his early work and just as likely to still sound great after another couple decades go by.