Far from the twin epicenters of New York and Miami, Carlos Ruiz and his Ebirac label were both feeling and generating the aftershocks of the mid-’70s salsa boom. Holed up in their own bustling Puerto Rican community center on Chicago’s west side, these third coast salseros plied their trade outside the hot lights, cutting their teeth in city parks, VFW halls, and Holiday Inn rec rooms. Nearly 50 records survive in the wake of orquestas La Justicia, La Solucion, and Tipica Leal ’79, the most impassioned, singular moments of which are compiled here. The 15-track CD is accompanied by a 60-page perfect-bound book, crammed with photos, flyers, and notes on this vibrant salsa scene. Spread across two LPs, the deluxe vinyl edition features a bonus track, a 60-second radio spot, a 24-page album-sized booklet, and replicas of the Ebirac label’s four distinct albums, all housed in a litho-wrapped slipcase.
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