The history of rocanrol Mexicano is pretty extensive, something that is carried over and still lasts to this day. It’s apparent that some of the best rock/garage bands of the 60′s era hailed from border towns like Tijuana (Los Rockin Devil’s, Tijuana 5, Los Hermanos Carrion ect). I suspect they had easier access to what was happening north of the border. And most these acts do justice to cover songs and bands they were influenced by.
I’m not going to delve too much into that, these songs are what they are – cover songs. What I wanted to mention, and what is worth noting, was that most these groups ended up being part of the onda grupera in the early 70′s – a mixture of cumbia, norteño, rock and ranchera. Groups like Los Freddy’s and Los Yonics are great examples of this. Bands that left their rock roots and blended it with a more northern/traditional type of sound. But the whole tradition of covering an American song, how the band is set up, and instrumentation is very similar in the norteño style to this day (sans the accordian).
Like my prior post, I’m pulling out all these hybrid crossover 45′s of the cumbia genre. However, I don’t have much to say about this track. In fact, I’m not even sure if there existed a band called “Mariachi Mexico” – seems like kind of a generic name. Also the song title is a bit odd, La Derrota De Damasco (The Road to Damascus?), possibly a mariachi standard? The music still sounds good and they do a great cover version of the Cumbia Sampuesana. Anyhow, cumbia and mariachi – I can’t really same more than that. Enjoy!
“‘California Lullaby’: Sheet Music and the Musical Marketing of Southern California.” Josh Kun and his research assistants have dug through the history of sheet music in Los Angeles (there will be an upcoming exhibit at the Los Angeles Public Library that promises to be incredible). In particular, Josh looks at the role that sheet music played in selling Los Angeles to tourists and settlers, which I found really profound since I’ve been thinking a lot about the the intersection between L.A., consumerism and what Dave Grazian calls “landscapes of cultural consumption”. L.A. has always lead at this (hello CityWalk!). This history runs deep and as Josh (among others have argued), L.A. wasn’t simply sold to consumers, the city was sold as a commodity itself.
Despite the presumed ubiquity of data in a digital era, there’s a surprising amount of information gaps out there when it comes to even the most famous and prolific of artists. Perez Prado, one of Latin music’s most heralded figures, put out a striking number of funk-influenced albums in the 1970s but trying to keep an accounting of them is harder than you might imagine. The various discographies out there are incomplete and mismatched and that’s not even because of the confusion around which Perez Prado was even recording.
The more famous brother was responsible for the lion’s share of the “funky Prado” albums of this era but as I’ve discovered the hard way, it’s not easy keeping track of all that’s out there. This El Unico album, released out of Mexico, was completely off my radar until I heard a copy at the Groove Merchant and it’s certainly in competition with the better material in its vein. In terms of straight up funk, “San Luis Blues” certainly qualifies with its heated percussion section and a blaring brass section. But the real slower burner is this version of “Tequila” (which is a different version than what appears on Mexico 70). Fans of this classic party tune wouldn’t even recognize it based on how it opens: a heavy bassline that keeps looping around, some slick electric guitar and steady but understated Latin percussion. This is what you call a groove. It takes about five minutes for the main melody of “Tequila” to creep in and by that time, I doubt few would have seen it coming if not for people yelling “tequila!” to clue you in. It’s slow, almost druggy, and altogether heady.
Prado’s “Patricia” appears a couple times in the film, notably during a party scene, when a lady at a party starts to strip, in the middle of the party. Just before she gets down to business, one of the attendees says “Patriiicia, Patriiiicia!” As tame as the scene seems now, it was pretty decadent for the time. For some reason, I really wanted that song. For a few years, I had a song title in the back of my head, but no artist to go along with it. (This was before the interwebs.) Then, out of nowhere, an old fart radio station appeared in San Diego. If you were around these parts back in the eighties, you know the station I speak of, good ol’ KPOP. The station played music from another era, primarily the forties and fifties, but it wasn’t an oldies station in the classic mold. Because, instead of Elvis and his lot, KPOP played Glen Miller, the Ink Spots, Patti Page, Sinatra, and others like that, among them, Perez Prado.
The cool thing about the station was (besides unknowingly turning a younger audience onto records that were probably hipper than shit in their parents day), they had a semi-reliable playlist, meaning that you wouldn’t hear Perez Prado just once. If you tuned in regularly, you were likely to hear “Patricia” and “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” several times a week. (On AM radio no less. I miss that station.) So it was, that Perez Prado was embedded in the post-punk, pre-grunge, group of San Diego music scene barflies. So, here’s a few from KPOP’s playlist; and some from later, funkier and every bit as cool. Huuh!
~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Perez Prado – Patricia mp3 at TropicalGlen
Perez Prado – Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White mp3 at IHS55
Perez Prado – Mambo No. 5 mp3 at Bailey Beach Boy
Funkier 70s stuff:
Perez Prado – San Luis Blues mp3 at Soul Sides
Perez Prado – Tequila mp3 at Soul Sides
Perez Prado – Circle mp3 at 45 Giri a Porta Portese
From Music for Maniacs:
So far we’ve been diggin’ the sounds of spouge (Barbados), junkanoo, and goombay (both from The Bahamas,) and fungi (British Virgin Islands.) Now let’s move ashore to Belize, and note the African descendants grooving to their own style, punta rock. Ah, but what’s this?! Their Honduran neighbors to the north are tired of the usual Latino styles. They want to add a little salsa to that creole gumbo.
Los Roland’s “Los Reyes de la Punta”
Album title means “The Kings of the Punta” and I ain’t arguing. Punta rock is not rock, but it does rock. Only 8 songs, but wonderful, high energy stuff (the song “Punta Rock” was a staple of my mix tapes in the ’90s) with a full electric band, complete with cheezy synths. If you don’t speak Spanish, you’re not missing much. Lyrics don’t translate to anything more meaningful than “Let’s go dance the punta rock.” But, sometimes, that’s all that needs to be said.
Various ~ “Funky L.A. Lost Funk & Rare Grooves from the L.A. Underground”
(Blog: Free Défendu)
La La Landmark LP
“It’s one of those ace compilations where you manage to get your mitts on some super rare funk bombs, this time all sleazy, easy and sultry numbers from L.A. 1970-1975. With cuts from Wardell Howard, Charles Miller, Marie Adams, Bill Spencer, Blockbusters, Soul Primers, Caprells and Baraka (this track is bloody incredible!!!), this one is choc full of dancefloor bombs.”
(Xanakse, at Xanakse’s Blog )