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HECTOR LAVOE RELEASES Hector Lavoe was the salsa equivalent of a mercurial rock'n'roll star. It makes sense, then, that tapes of Lavoe's concert recordings have been treasured by collectors worldwide since the singer's untimely death in 1993, at age 46. This month, Fania is re-releasing the official editions of two Lavoe live collections. The first one, Hector Lavoe Live, came out originally in 1998 and is probably the best sounding Lavoe concert in existence. The second one, recorded at a private club during the final chapter of his career, was compiled with the serious salsa aficionado in mind.

The studio albums that Lavoe made for Fania - both as a young vocalist with Willie Colon and as a more mature solo artist in his later years - showcase the purity and swing of the '70s salsa movement at its artistic apex.

Lavoe's concert recordings, on the other hand, underscore two important elements in his music: First, the expertise of his orchestra - which remained proficient and sonically attractive even in those nights when Hector, destroyed by his drug addiction, could barely carry a tune. Second, El Cantante's infectious sense of humor, and his gift for lyrical improvisation.

Monthly Contest: HECTOR LAVOE LIVE CD We are giving away THREE copies of the Hector Lavoe Live CD. For a chance to win, answer the following trivia questions before Friday, July 30th by noon ET.

 Free Download:

BOBBY PAUNETTO "Chinatown" Our free download this month is a real gem from the Fania vaults, a pristine slice of Latin funk anchored on the sound of vibes and the retro mood of 1969. Interview: GILBERTO 'EL PULPO' The musical director with Hector Lavoe for 16 years, "Pulpo" took some time from his busy schedule as a bandleader to reminisce about his years with El Cantante. Merchandise: EL CANTANTE T-SHIRT Fania has a full line of vintage style T-Shirts that are perfect for this summer. This one is the same t-shirt that Hector Lavoe wore on stage during his shows.