If you're ever stuck trying to buy me a gift, I'll cheerfully accept Fania album cover t-shirts! I'm pretty sure they're all great.
Fania Records had it all: salsa, soul, jazz, grooves, horns, Chopin, subway imitations, and a seemingly inexhaustible appetite for urban America. Read more about it -- "it" being Strut's compilation Fania Records 1964-1980: The Original Sound of Latin New York -- in my PopMatters review. Here's the beginning:
Music geeks like to call New York’s Fania Records the Motown of salsa music. That’s not completely accurate, because Fania wasn’t exactly Hitsville, but you can boil the comparison down to three factors:
1. Like Motown, Fania created a sound all its own.
The genre of salsa music didn’t exist before Fania invented it in mid-’60s NYC. Fania’s bands were happily mixing up exotically named Afro-Cuban styles—son, charanga, guaracha, bomba—that sounded intimidating to gringo audiences without access to Wikipedia. Fania co-founders Johnny Pacheco and Jerry Masucci created “salsa” as a catch-all marketing term.