Album:A Lifetime of Hits...Live at Centro de Bellas Artes, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Singer Bobby Cruz and pianist and arranger Richie Ray have been together since the 60s and are still going strong today. They are legends of salsa music. Richie Ray was born Ricardo Maldonado Morales Feb. 15, 1945 in Brooklyn, NY to Puerto Rico born parents. Bobby Cruz was born Robert Cruz Feliciano Feb. 1, 1937 in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico. Cruz moved to New York City in the early 60s. After studying for a year at Juilliard, Ray left to start his own salsa orchestra. Cruz was hired to sing and the two have been together ever since. When they first recorded together, Ray was billed as the headliner. But by the 70s they were always billed as Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz. Though they didn't record for Fania, they were a big part of The Fania All Stars. In the mid-70 they moved from New York to San Juan. Sonido Bestial is probably one of their biggest hits and was released in 1971. You can get it on this 2CD set that was recorded live in 2006. There is also a DVD that is out of print. After Ray had alcohol and drug problems in the late 70s, both guys became born again Christians and ministers. Though this hurt them with salsa fans, eventually they came to terms with their secular music and in recent years they operate several churches and go on tour and play salsa music. Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz have now been together for fifty years and that says a lot in a business that can be very tough on long term partnerships. Here's Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz performing Sonido Bestial from A Lifetime of Hits in San Juan, Puerto Rico 2006.