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The Ghetto Brothers' Elusive Record Resurfaces, Four Decades Later

The Bronx gang's one and only album, 'Power-Fuerza,' has just been reissued 40 years after its original release.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Ghetto Brothers, live in concert (Courtesy of the Ghetto Brothers/Truth & Soul Records)

In the late 1960s, the Ghetto Brothers gang formed in the South Bronx. The primarily Puerto Rican and African-American club eventually grew to include several thousand members in the borough alone, and factions of the group spread throughout the U.S. But the Ghetto Brothers wasn't just a gang. They were also a rock band, formed by founding members Benjy, Robert and Victor Melendez.

After brokering a peace deal between warring Bronx gangs in late 1971, Melendez and the Ghetto Brothers band locally released their one and only album, Power-Fuerza, in 1972.

The elusive record has become a heavily sought-after collectors' item over the years. Now, 40 years later, it's being reissued by Brooklyn-based Truth & Soul Records.

We speak with Benjy Melendez, who still performs as a member of the Ghetto Brothers today, and hip hop historian and journalist Jeff "Chairman" Mao about the band's story and their surprisingly sweet sound. 



Jeff "Chairman" Mao and Benjy Melendez

Comments [1]

luis from arizona

many puerto ricans have had the opportunity to prosper. but our foundation
culturally is in disarray. Music is a way to express ourselves. I myself
would work on the spanish spoken)(communication) Today gangs, drugs Homicides have totally distroy the puertorican. Separation of our families
has also contributed negatively to our future foundation or generation. I met a professional muscian willie colon the only way he greeted me was
by uttering the phrase salsa power. Little that he knew was, that I am educated and don't want anything to due with todays salsa. Today unlike years
ago puerto rican from the island separate themselves from people in the mainland. Que pasa Boricua!

Dec. 04 2012 01:02 PM

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