One of many standouts from the current and extensive Fania reissue campaign, this slinky Ray Barretto gem deserved to be dusted off, remastered, and rediscovered. A reference to the calloused hands of the conga legend, Hard Hands was originally released during a plateau in Barretto’s career, one kicked-off in 1968 by the release of his genre-blending hit “Acid.” Hard Hands finds the Puerto Rican percussionist and bandleader continuing to blend resonant Latin riffs with the uplifting melodies of funk and soul. Exercising a bit more restraint and balance than he did on his earlier, more-psychedelic release, Barretto refines his already seamless take on Latin soul.