Bataan’s Back In Town!

Posted on Jun 28, 2011

It was so sweet to see the legendary Latin soul man Joe Bataan at the S.F. Yoshi’s this past Saturday night which happened to be my birthday. Bataan solidly connected with the predominately older audience who knew his songs and demonstrated their idol worship by singing along or shaking their heads to his classic material. Bataan responded with a rousing performance that featured hits from his career such as “I Wish You Love” and “When Sunny Gets Blue” along with a few surprises such as his rendition of “Sad Girl” which transported me back to junior high school slow jams for a moment. Dressed in a blazing red cap, Bataan was accompanied by his wife Yvonne on background vocals and backed by the tight Raza All Stars band with guest Malecio Magdaluyo on woodwinds. Joe effortlessly shifted gears from boogaloo to salsa flavored songs but he primarily showcased the Latin Soul fusion that he helped pioneer in the 1960’s and led throughout the 70’s. He delivered the tunes with a story or a monologue that touched the sold out Yoshi’s crowd. He related his story of his rise from a gang member in prison to a successful singing career before launching into a heartfelt soul version of “The Lord’s Prayer” dedicated to youth in prison. Bataan could still belt a tune as well as bring the house down with his music. Thank God that Subway Joe is still around to bring us the “salsoul”.