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Bobby Cruz

Closely associated with pianist Ricardo Ray for much of his career, vocalist Bobby Cruz enjoyed over a decade of fame as a trailblazer of boogaloo, and subsequently salsa, before receding from the spotlight during the '80s and refocusing his efforts on Christianity. Cruz began his recording career as a vocalist in the Ricardo Ray Orchestra in 1964 on Fonseca Records, and by the end of the decade, after singing lead vocals on such hits as "Mr. Trumpet Man," he'd earned himself co-billing on the duo's albums for Alegre Records. In 1970 Ray and Cruz moved from New York City to Puerto Rico, where they opened a club and, beginning with their classic El Bestial Sonido de Richie Ray y Bobby Cruz (1971), recorded albums for Vaya Records, a subsidiary of Fania. In 1974 they were declared Los Reyes de la Salsa (the Kings of Salsa) and, in the aftermath of this honor, converted to Christianity and began making lifestyle changes. Though the duo continued recording for Vaya well into the '80s, they redirected their energy toward church activities as the decade carried on. From 1983 until 1998, with the exception of one farewell album in 1987, they effectively disappeared from the music scene. Then, beginning with a 1999 reunion, they resumed activity as a live performance and recording duo, casting much of their music in a Christian light. They were given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2006 Latin Grammys and were nominated for Best Contemporary Tropical Album the following year.

Born on February 2, 1938, in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, Roberto Cruz Feliciano grew up on a farm in the countryside. His prime musical influence was El Gran Combo. After moving with his family to New York City, he met and befriended pianist Ricardo "Richie" Ray, whose orchestra he joined as a vocalist. Both Cruz and Ray made their recording debuts on Ricardo Ray Arrives/Comején (1964), billed to the Ricardo Ray Orchestra and released by Fonseca Records. Boasting a memorable hit with "Comején" and a song that would be reworked in later years, "Mambo Jazz," the album featured a variety of musical styles (mambo, descarga, bolero, pachanga, cha cha) and was arranged entirely by Ray and Cruz. On the Scene with Ricardo Ray (1965) followed on Fonseca, along with a few other albums whose exact release dates are questionable: 3 Dimensions (1966), Richie Ray Introducing Bobby Cruz a Go-Go-Go (1966), and Fiesta Navideña (1966).

Ray and Cruz then switched to Alegre Records for another run of albums, initially billed to simply Ricardo Ray and beginning with Se Soltó/On the Loose (1966), which notably features a pioneering boogaloo effort, "Danzón Boogaloo." Jala Jala y Boogaloo (1967) kept the boogaloo vibe going, as did its sequel, Jala Jala y Boogaloo, Vol. 2 (1968), the latter featuring the English-language hit "Mr. Trumpet Man" with Cruz on lead vocals. The duo released several further albums on Alegre, including Let's Get Down to the Real Nitty Gritty (1968), Los Durísimos/The Strong Ones (1969), and Agúzate (1970), the last few co-billed to Ricardo Ray & Bobby Cruz, and also recorded sparingly for Tico and United Artists.

In 1970, Ray and Cruz moved to Puerto Rico, where they opened a club, Richie Ray's Club in Rio Piedras, and began recording for Vaya Records, a subsidiary of Fania Records. Their Vaya debut, El Bestial Sonido de Richie Ray y Bobby Cruz (1971), marks the beginning of their salsa phase and is one of their best albums overall. During this period, Cruz made his solo debut with Bobby Cruz Canta para Ti (1972), produced by Ray. The duo was at the height of its popularity during the early to mid-'70s and performed frequently. Their 1972 in-concert album Jammin' Live perhaps the pinnacle of their popularity, and they're also heard on the classic Fania All-Stars albums Live at the Cheetah, Vol. 1 (1971), Our Latin Thing (Nuestra Costa) (1972), Live at the Cheetah, Vol. 2 (1973), Latin-Soul-Rock (1974), Live at Yankee Stadium, Vol. 1 (1976), and Live at Yankee Stadium, Vol. 2 (1976).

In 1974, during a concert at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ray and Cruz were declared Los Reyes de la Salsa (the Kings of Salsa), and in the aftermath of this honor, Ray and, shortly thereafter, Cruz made a very public conversion to to Christianity, closing their club, changing their lifestyles, and going on to become pastors. Their conversion to Christianity didn't affect their music right away, for they continued recording albums on Vaya Records throughout the '70s and into the '80s, namely Amor en la Escuela (a Cruz solo album; 1974), 1975 (1975), 10 Aniversario (1975), Reconstrucción (1976), The Best of Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz (1977), Viven (1977), El Sonido de la Bestia (1980), De Nuevo los Durísimos (1980), Pinturas (1981), Las Aguilas (1982), and Back to Back (1982). Then, after a five-year hiatus, they released their final Vaya album, Los Inconfundibles (1987), which notably includes their swan song, "Adiós a la Salsa." They effectively disappeared from the music scene for over a decade, focusing their efforts instead on church-related activities.

In 1997, Cruz published the book Cuando Era Niño, a memoir of his childhood; an accompanying album was released by RMM Records as well that year. In 1999, Ray and Cruz reunited for a concert at Ruben Rodríguez Coliseum in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Following this one-off concert, the duo performed a series of shows in Venezuela, Columbia, Mexico, New York, and Miami. A warmly received double-disc in-concert album documenting the duo's reunion, Un Sonido Bestial el Concierto (1999), was released by Universal Music Latino in turn. In the wake of this renewed succes, Ray and Cruz began recording new music again, much of it from an evangelistic Christian perspective and released by WEA International, including the collaborative album Lo Nuevo y Lo Mejor (2001), the Cruz solo album Voz, Palabra y Júbilo (2000), the Ray solo album Al Ritmo del Piano (2002), and the Cruz solo album Caminando (2002).

In the mid-2000s, after Ray and Cruz's WEA relationship had come to an end, they switched to Tropisounds and made their label debut with Que Vuelva La Música (2005). A couple years later, in 2007, came the live CD/DVD A Lifetime of Hits: Live at Centro de Bellas Artes, San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as the Cruz solo album Romanticos de Ayer, Hoy y Siempre. In 2006, Ray and Cruz were honored at that year's Latin Grammy Award ceremony with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and a year later, Cruz won a Latin Grammy in the category of Best Traditional Tropical album for Romanticos de Ayer, Hoy y Siempre while their collaborative effort, A Lifetime of Hits: Live at Centro de Bellas Artes, San Juan, Puerto Rico, was nominated for Best Contemporary Tropical Album. ~ Jason Birchmeier
full bio

Comments

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juliorobles1 7 4 9
I been hook with their music from day one , they are very dip in my heart and they are going to be there until the end of my life , and I mean every words . !!!
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naguabo43
Just saw them at NJPAC. Sound as good as ever!
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Watch out………… se soltaron los caballos. RR & BC with the GM.
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Para la gente de los 1970 que no se perdian los bailes de Richie Y Bobbie. Nosotros eramos de Nemesio Canales y tirabamos para todos los senior prom y club que ellos tocaban. :)
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Salsa ♡
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elviejoyfunn y
chevere que consiguio su salvasion, pero para los fanaticos de su musica nos tumbo!

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I can remember dancing to this at a fast pace. Those were the days
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One of the BEST OF THE BEST..!!!!
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Love it
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best of the best ''las bestias'' richie ray. bobby cruz.
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That bio is embarrassing . There is SO MUCH more you could write about these two masters of the genre. If anyone could tell me how to post a bio, I would do it.
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One of the many many CLASSICS ever done #salsadelavi e j a
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Love it!
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happykids9
Puerto Rico has adopted this two extra ordinary duo from Venezuela. We really love you guys!
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La legenda de Puerto Rico Richie Ray y Bobby Cruz dos grandes cantantes.
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No se me olviden de Ismael Rivera. "El Sonero Mayor". Nacido y criado en Santurce conociendo asi la calle dura de PR, y presentando es sus canciones lo patrio y verdad de nosotros los Boricuas de caserios y barrios. Richie y Bobby tienen su estandarte en la salsa pero Ismael es la raza hecha cancion.
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Me encanta no me canso de escucharla
Que viva la salsa por siempre
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Para mi son mas de 20 años de vida en Cristo jesus
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Love this!! we need more artist like these!!!
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frizten
Me trae recuerdos de mi bella isla: Puerto Rico.
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Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz-the best !!!
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Puerto Rico the best viva la mucica
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Me encanta la version en ingles de Frank Sinatra (My Way) y esta en espa~ol (A Mi Manera).
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A LEGEND!
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LA LEGENDA DE LA FANIA ALLL STARS VIVE!!!!!!!! !
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Hey!! The best salsa in the world forever
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Los duricimos,
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Que nunca muera la popularidad del genero SALSA!!!
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QUE VIVA LA SALSA FOR EVER AND EVER BLESS ALL THE ARTIST THAT HAVE BRING IN THE SALSA PAST AND PRESENT, FOR MANY MORE YEAR TO COME....YEAH !!! BABY !!!
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Salsa a la GRAND....!
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miriam.bcbj
Que viva la salsa buena, la brava!
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Que viva la salsa dura!
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The best of salsa is alive
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elviejoyfunn y
lo mejor del genero
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La salsa vive!!!!!! :-)
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This is SALSA!!!!!
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Super ! Que nos pongan su biografia excelente... . . pero con estas melodias que solo podemos escuchar en PANDORA, para que mas, nosotros los que vivimos tanta emocion en esos tiempos y aun ahora con estos gigantes de la alegria; Solo nos resta decir Gracias PANDORA ! Esta si es la Universidad de la Salsa para que mas !
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angelstgo59
ricardo rey y bobby cruz la mejor orquesta de puerto rico ahora son servidores de dios y hermanos en cristo ahora admistran al rey de reyes y senor de senores predicando el santo evangelio de cristo . a todas las naciones y dios esta con ellos
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Increible que despachen a estos virtuosos con tan poca informacion de su carrera artistica. Se nota su desconocimie n t o de la salsa.
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es muy triste que no tengan mas historia de dos de los mas grandes de nuetra musica se nota que ponen nomas lo que quieren
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classic salsa
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Que pena que la biografia no hace justicia a esta excelente musica!Richi e
Ray y Bobby Cruz tienen mas historia que esa porqueria que escribieron a cerca de ellos.
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this is salsa, this is music,this is rhytim I love it
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halahala pa rico
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hanging out in the South Bronx around St. Anns Ave 137 st.best years of my life.ralphy, e d d i e , j o e , w a l l y , s i l v i a , m a r i a , w h a t a group
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rsotomay1
The best of the best!
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serranolawye r
One of the best Salsa bands tremendous sound and rhythm with a virtuoso piano player. I have enjoyed this music for over thirty five years. It appears that this music pierce my eardrums yesterday. Thank you for the moments of comfort and happiness. God bless your talents.
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eso si es musica para bailarlo apretadito y en un ladrillo .

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