Son By Four Hold #1 For Third Week

Salsa/R&B quartet still besting Estefan; singer Gisselle tops them with single.

Now certified doble platino, signifying U.S. sales of more than 200,000 copies, Son by Four's self-titled album tops the Billboard Latin 50 albums chart for the third straight week, once again besting #2 Alma Caribeña — Caribbean Soul by Gloria Estefan and #3 Noche de Cuatro Lunes by Julio Iglesias.

However, the Puerto Rican salsa/R&B quartet's "A Puro Dolor" drops to #2 on the Hot Latin Tracks chart, replaced by "Ju'rame" (Swear to Me) (RealAudio excerpt) by a fellow Puerto Rican, merengue/pop singer Gisselle, whose album Voy a Enamorarte nonetheless falls to #17 from #13.

Obra Maestra (Masterpiece) continues to make a strong showing, moving to #7 from #8, for the late great Tito Puente and the very lively Eddie Palmieri.

This past week, Palmieri also made a strongly worded statement regarding his feelings about the state of salsa and Latin music in the United States and Cuba. The renowned jazz pianist, 63, told Billboard en español that the record industry is run by musical ignorantes. "Mediocrity is ruling, and this CD puts an end to that," Palmieri said of his collaboration with Puente, who died shortly after the album was recorded.

Along with declaring that Cuban music "lost 40 years with [Fidel] Castro," Palmieri lashed into domestic music makers: "The Latin music that appears from Miami now belongs in the category of Muzak."

Making up the rest of the Latin 50 top 10 are: Omara Portuondo, Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo, at #4; padre-to-be Marc Anthony, Desde un Principio — From the Beginning, at #5; Alejandro Fernandez, Entre Tus Brazos, at #6; Luis Fonsi, whose Eterno falls to #8 from #6; Mexican singer/cowboy Joan Sebastian, Secreto de Amor, at #9; and Grupo Limite, whose Por Encima de Todo re-enters the top 10 at #10.