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Hand picked records important to the history of Soul Strut. This is updated (almost) daily.

Harlem River Drive - Harlem River Drive

  • Harlem River Drive

    Harlem River Drive LP (1971)

    Roulette

Ranked #94 in the Soul Strut 200

1971's Harlem River Drive was Eddie Palmieri's shot at the big leagues.  Until that point, he had made safe latin jazz records on the Roulette subsidiary Tico.  On Roulette, he sought to crossover to a mainstream audience by fusing his brand of Puerto Rican salsa with the politically heated soul and funk of the day.  With help from R&B veteran Jimmy Norman along with heavy hitters Bernard Purdy on drums, Cornell Dupree on guitar,  his brother Charlie on organ, and other session musicians, he formed and recorded Harlem River Drive.  

The album touched on the controversial topic of racial inequality in New York City circa the 1970s and was backed by funky soul anchored by heavy latin percussion that would later become the blueprint for groups like War. Clocking in at around 30 minutes,  Harlem River Drive is short and sweet with very little if any filler.  Highlights include "Harlem River Drive (Theme Song)" which begins with an instantly recognizable electric piano riff.  As well as the highly infectious uptempo soul/funk tracks  “Idle Hands” and “Seeds of Life”.  Harlem River Drive did not reach sales expectations, but later became a cult classic with rare groove DJs and collectors and is still being celebrated today for its musical content and lyrical substance. 


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