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Top 10 Salsa Albums for 2006

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There's nothing that spices up a party or just an evening of celebrating life like some hot salsa on the sound system. There's so much good salsa available that picking just ten albums can be a challenge. But here are my favorites for 2006. This year the charge to salsa is dominated by Puerto Rican artists - but who can complain with such a wonderful selection to pick from?

1. Victor Manuelle - 'Decision Unanime'

Sony BMG
Even though Victor Manuelle didn't get his Latin grammy (Gilberto Santa Rosa's Directo Al Corazon won), my vote was for Manuelle's exceptional Decision Unanime.

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2. El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico - 'Arroz Con Habichuela'

Puerto Rico's El Gran Combo is the called the "University of Salsa" because so many great salseros got their start with the group. They're cooking up some great salsa music on this album and the big winner is the listener.

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3. Oscar D'Leon - 'Fuzionando'

Sony BMG
Venezuela's "El Leon De La Salsa" is back with his distinctive salsa sound, this time in the form of salsa fused with reggaeton, hip hop and flamenco. Call it what you will, Fuzionando soars on the wings of D'Leon's strong voice and will have you and your friends dancing 'til there are holes in your salsa shoes.

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4. India - 'Soy Diferente'

Univision Records
La India is back in great vocal form with an album sure to please her long awaiting fans, salsa aficionados and almost anyone who needs a lift after a gray so-so day.

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5. Charlie Cruz - 'Mas De Mi'

Puerto Rican Charlie Cruz is comparatively new to the salsa scene, but if he keeps making great salsa albums like Mas De Mi, the salsa world will soon be singing his praises.

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6. Andy Montanez - 'Salsa Con Reggaeton'

If you think salsa and reggaeton don't go together, Andy Montanez begs to differ with an album bursting with sound. He gets a little help from Daddy Yankee, Voltio from the reggaeton side while n'klabe helps kick up the salsa.

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7. Tito Nieves - 'Hoy, Manana Y Siempre'

Tito Nieves is one of my favorites and he brings his dynamic voice and sterling salsa stylings to this years Hoy, Manana y Siempre.

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8. Son De Cali - 'Cambiando La Historia'

If you've been ignoring Colombian salsa, you're making a mistake, because some of the best salsa in the world is coming from Colombia. Son De Cali was formed by two ex-Grupo Niche artists. Their last album was a little bit of a disappointment, byt Cambiando La Historia makes up for it.

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9. Gilberto Santa Rosa - 'Directo Al Corazon'

Directo Al Corazon was the 2006 Latin Grammy winner for salsa album of the year. It's a little bit too pop for my taste, but when Gilberto starts hitting the salsa, it rocks.

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10. Tiempo Libre - 'Lo Que Esperabas'

Tiempo Libre is a Miami-based Cuban timba group and their album, which translates to What You've Been Waiting For is sheer energy and a little change of pace.

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