We gave it a B+
Taken together, these two albums are a lesson in the ways music can grow no matter what soil it’s planted in. When Castro came to power in 1959, the gates crashed down on the export of Cuban culture to America. From then on, the music of Cubans in the U.S. rolled along its own evolutionary track. Dancing With the Enemy — another compilation from indefatigable culture vulture David Byrne — shows what happened on the island during the ’60s and ’70s in 16 happy slices of son, rumba, and other musical styles guaranteed to make your head fizz.
Meanwhile, up in New York, where urban angst helped Cuban son mutate into the harder, louder crossbeats of salsa, the most thoughtful latter-day maverick has been Henry Fiol. Sonero compiles the best of Fiol’s ’80s work — including the scary ”Perdido en la Ciudad,” a Newyorican ”Living for the City” — into one solid sampler. B+