Review

Ghetto Brothers

Power Fuerza

Truth & Soul • 2012

From the 1950s on, legions of people from South- and Central America emigrated to the United States, following the call for endless opportunities. They soon had to learn that to most people the literal »American Dream« was nothing more than it pretended to be – a dream, which could come true for everyone in theory, but which didn’t for most people in reality. Gentrified and gagged monetarily, most immigrants only had the sham choice of a career that the black population had always had: Either they started to spread illegal substances amongst the people, or they gave some substance to their hopeless reality in the form of sports or music. It was the combination of almost endless free time, drugs from every corner and the habitual dedication to western vice that made the Bronx become the sizzling cauldron in which this record was made, and which gave it its enchanting haze. At first, the Ghetto Brothers were a gang, whose small-time-criminal doings was limited to a few blocks. However, their musical likings were shaped by certain trends from overseas. One of their main influences, which some band members had engaged in before under the name of »Junior Beatles«, was the Mersey Beat. In their English-speaking tracks, in particular, the vocals come across as somewhat pert, which would have earned them nothing but a good beating in the ghetto. However, in the two tracks sang in their mother tongue, their true character shines through, having been responsible for their local success back then and making them appear as anything but boyish. It’s a confident mixture of occidental musicality and wild and boisterous elements of percussion, which only Latin Americans know how to create. The Ghetto Brothers are one of the main candidates for the position of the missing link between dreamy soul-pop of the 60s and the cheeky chicano-funk of the 70s.