Over 50 years after its original release, the reissue of Frank y Sus Inquietos’s self-titled 1967 classic still packs all the punch of a runaway freight train loaded with trans-Caribbean musical tradition. The Venezuelan hard salsa luminaries are emblematic of the musical crossroads that blossomed in Caracas throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, harnessing the melodic richness of Puerto Rican rumba and the aggressive vocal delivery of Cuban guaguancó. The group’s dizzying Antillean influences are not only apparent throughout their sonic maelstroms of timbales, congas, keys, and soaring harmonies, but on tracks like “El Boricua” and “Rumba de Salón” they explicitly claim to channel Puerto Rican flavor.
With bravado to spare, Frank y Sus Inquietos run the gamut of salsa storytelling, bouncing from the fiery underdog barbs of “La Ley de la Vida” to the sobering carpe diem spirit of “Mira Hacia El Presente.” The group’s affinity for melodrama reaches critical mass on the lurching, organ-led torch song “Mi Primer Amor,” sounding both like your abuelo’s sweetheart dance and the theme to a beachside B-movie. And while it’s easy to be swept up in Frank González’s heart-pounding vocal gymnastics, the delightfully downtempo “Que Seas Así” offers a respite from the rapid footwork and an opportunity to gaze deeply into one’s dance partner’s eyes.