"Chavez Ravine" is a magnificent CD by the legendary guitarist/producer
released in 2005 on the Nonesuch/Perro Verde record label.
It contains songs
and/or vocal performances by Ry Cooder, Lalo Guerrero, Little
Willie G. (of Thee Midniters fame), Ersi Arvisu (of The Sisters
& El Chicano fame), Rudy Salas (of Tierra fame), David
Hidalgo of Los Lobos, and Don Tosti, among others. The
CD's theme involves the destruction of the barrio of Chavez
Ravine to build Dodger Stadium in the early 60s. The
songs are in English, Spanish, and some are bi-lingual.
Pachuco slang, or Caló, is also used throughout. Hopefully
this CD will do for Chicano music what Cooder's "Buena
Vista Social Club" did for Cuban music and some of it's
"Ry Cooder (2005)
"San Patricio" (Spanish for St. Patrick) is a collaboration by
legendary Irish group The Chieftans and Ry Cooder, joined by
various guest artists. The recording commemorates a
little-known connection between Mexicans and the Irish. During
the Mexican-American War of the 1840s, a group of disaffected
Irish-American conscripts led by Capt. John Riley crossed the
border to fight with the Mexicans. Riley put together a
battalion named the "San Patricio," deserted the U.S. Army and
joined the Mexicans to fight on what he saw as the side of
justice. The Chieftains' album features a long list of
guest artists, including narration by Irish-born actor Liam
Neeson of a poem in tribute to the San Patricios.
"Ry Cooder (2005)
"Learn To Fly" is a brand new CD from East L.A.'s
Delgado Brothers on their own label, Bell Asher. They're
a great band whose style has elements of blues, Latin, and
r&b mixed in for good measure. Their songs are strong
and have excellent arrangements, many with a great horn section.
My favorite cuts are the title track "Learn To Fly,"
which is bluesy with a distinctly Latin groove, and "Oh
Brother," a soulful song written and sung from one brother
to another. For more information on the Delgado Brothers
see my review below on their previous CD and visit their website:
"Learn To Fly"
The Delgado Brothers (2009)
"A Brother's Dream" is a CD by East L.A.'s Delgado
Brothers on their own label, Bell Asher Records. They're
a great blues band, the real deal. Bassist Bobby Delgado
goes back to the East L.A. music scene of the 1960s when he
was a member of The Exotics, who also featured brother Danny
Delgado who's not with the Delgado Brothers band. The
Exotics were one of my 60s band's (Mark & the Escorts)
fiercest rivals, but the rivalry was good for both bands.
In the same era, brother Eddie Delgado was bassist for popular
East L.A. band, The Ambertones. The Delgado Brothers
Band features the aforementioned Bobby, and younger Delgados,
Joey Delgado on lead vocals and lead guitar, and Steve Delgado
on lead vocals and drums. Ray Solis on congas &
percussion and Dave Kelley on keyboards, round out the band's
lineup. The Delgado Brothers have played blues festivals
all over the country on the bill with such blues greats as
Buddy Guy, Robert Cray and John Mayall, who has recorded a
couple of Delgado Brothers songs. These guys have first
rate vocals and are great players. All songs are originals
and cover lots of different grooves and styles. For
example, their song "Picture of You" is not a blues,
but a melodic ballad with a conga driven groove with an acoustic
guitar in the mix. "Jennie" is another such
example. Another highlight is "Talk To My Friend,"
a gospel -style song written for a departed friend.
The Delgado Brothers are a real blues band as most of the
tracks on this CD will demonstrate, but some of their music
isn't really blues based. They're simply a great band
with some excellent songs. These guys are excellent
songwriters. I highly recommend this band and their
CD. They have a couple of previous CDs available also.
For more info, visit
"A Brother's Dream"
Delgado Brothers (2003)
to go to the Delgado Brothers store at amazon.com
"Naked Lunch"- Naked Lunch was a San Francisco band in 1969. They
were a funky horn band with Latin and psychedelic overtones
who held their own on stage with Tower of Power, Boz Scaggs,
Elvin Bishop and other top artists of the era. This
CD collection features seven "live" tracks recorded
at two different venues in the Bay area in 1969. Also
included are four tracks recorded in 1972 by Banda de Jesus,
which featured three former members of Naked Lunch.
What makes this CD particularly special and important, aside
from the great music they created, is that Naked Lunch members
Abel Zarate (guitar), Roy Murray (trumpet), and Richard Spremich
(drums) were founding members of Malo in 1970 and were major
contributors to the success of Malo's first album and their
mega hit, "Suavecito." It comes with a booklet
that features lots of photos and a detailed history of Naked
Lunch written by Jose Sierra. It's about time Zarate,
Murray, and Spremich and Naked Lunch as a whole received the
recognition they so richly deserve. You can buy the
Naked Lunch (2009)
"Friend For Life" is a new CD released
on Anti Records by "Eastside Sound" veteran vocalist, Ersi Arvizu. Ersi was one of the singers in The Sisters,
a popular female vocal trio in East Los Angeles in the '60s.
In 1970, Ersi was lead vocalist for El Chicano, with whom
she recorded their classic version of "Sabor a Mi."
This collection of songs in Spanish and English, mostly written
by Ersi, is produced by the legendary musician/producer, Ry
"Friend For Life"
Ersi Arvizu (2008)
"About Time" is the latest CD by Max Baca's band,
Los Texmaniacs. Max is a very talented musician who
has worked with Flaco Jimenez, The Texas Tornados, and The
Rolling Stones. This collection of songs includes a
great cover of the Sir Douglas Quartet's classic "Rain
Rain." Their music is Tex Mex and conjunto, with
some blues, r&b, and Texas rock influence in the mix.
Their new CD also has guest artists Flaco Jimenez, Augie Meyers,
Ruben Ramos, and Los Lobos. For more info on the band
and their new cd visit
Los Texmaniacs (2008)
to go to Los Texmamiacs store at amazon.com
Rock En Español, Vol. 1- a new CD produced by Cesar Rosas
of Los Lobos on Yep Roc Records. On this CD, Los Straitjackets
(from Tennessee) are backing Chicano singers Big Sandy, Cesar
Rosas, and Little Willie G. on a collection of classic cover
tunes including Spanish versions of The Kinks' "All Day
and All of the Night," The McCoys' "Hang On Sloopy,"
Larry Williams' "Slow Down," The Troggs' "Wild
Thing," and others. There's also an instrumental
cover of Thee Midniters' "Whittier Boulevard."
Some clever and amusing liner notes are written by Los Lobos'
Louie Perez. I suspect Louie's referring to my dad,
Lalo Guerrero, in his liner notes as "some Mexican
dude singing a song about some little bitty bikini in
Spanish." My dad had a record in the early 60s
called "La Bikini de Mi Tia Trini," based on the
mainstream hit "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot
Bikini." You can purchase the CD at amazon.com
at the link below.
"Rock En Español, Vol. 1"
Los Straitjackets (2007)
"In Thee Midnite Hour" is a new compilation
CD and vinyl album released by Norton Records. It's
a collection of recordings that reflect the rockin' side of
East L.A.'s most popular band of the 60s. It's well
known that Thee Midniters' lead vocalist, Little Willie G.,
is perhaps best known for his ability to sing romantic ballads
with the best of them. This collection shows that Little
Willie G. & Thee Midniters could rock too. It includes
their classic "Whittier Boulevard," "Jump,
Jive, and Harmonize," "Love Special Delivery,"
and "Land of a Thousand Dances." Also in the
collection are covers of Barrett Stong's "Money,"
The Rolling Stones' "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love,"
and "Devil With a Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly."
My favorite cut on the album is "Never Knew I Had It
So Bad," which is a Midniter original that typifies the
mid-60s rock era. "In Thee Midnite Hour" is
packed with 19 exciting recordings from the golden age of
Thee Midniters. I was pleased to provide images of the
1960s Eastside flyers used in the CD booklet. The flyers
I had saved were to promote the dances and shows where my
bands of the period, Mark & the Escorts and The Men from
S.O.U.N.D., performed on the bill with Thee Midniters.
The CD is available on amazon.com at the link below or
"In Thee Midnite
Thee Midniters (2006)
"Salas" is a new CD by former, and once again,
lead vocalist and guitarist for El Chicano. I would
describe the style of the music as r&b and rock, with
some Latin overtones. Jerry is joined by his two daughters
Sara and Amanda on this album and, like their dad, they can
sing! They sing excellent background vocals throughout
the album and Sara steps out front on one of her dad's compositions
"Best of Your Life" and tears it up. The album
is produced by Jerry Salas and John Avila, the former bassist
for Oingo Boingo. With the exception of one song, Jerry
wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the CD. Highlights
for me are the previously mentioned "Best of Your Life,"
a Billy Joel-style song called "Everything I Feel,"
and a great reggae song called "Shut Up."
For more information on Jerry and the CD, visit
Jerry Salas (2006)
East L.A. Rockin' the Barrio (compilation)
New compilation of "Eastside
Sound" recordings on the Varese Sarabande label with
tracks by artists such as Cannibal & the Headhunters,
The Premiers, The Blendells, The Romancers, The Salas Brothers,
The Village Callers, and Little Willie G. For more information
and to order visit
"East L.A.- Rockin' the Barrio"
to Cafe East L.A." is Tierra's latest album. produced
by the leader of the band, Rudy Salas. It's a return
to their r&b roots, with some Latin grooves added for
good measure. The title track is a Pachuco swing song
that starts the CD off with a bang. My favorite tracks
are the Latin-styled "Ojos Negros" and "Oh
God (Save Us From Ourselves)," which I would describe
as gospel funk. Rudy Salas provides an excellent lead
vocal on the latter song. Chief vocalist Bill Mondragon
is a fine young singer who handles all the other lead vocals.
There's also an instrumental, "Marrano Beach Mambo,"
and a rap song, "My Chiquita," featuring Mr. Capone.
For more info on the CD visit Tierra's website,
"Welcome To Cafe East L.A."
to go to the Tierra store at amazon.com
Best of El Chicano" was released, October 4, 2004, on
Geffen Records. It's part of the prestigious "20th
Century Masters- The Millennium Collection" series.
The collection has El Chicano's best and most popular recordings
including "Viva Tirado," "Brown-Eyed Girl,"
"Tell Her She's Lovely," "Sabor a Mi,"
and my favorite, "Gringo En Mexico." All the
tracks were recorded during El Chicano's prime years, 1970-74.
This CD is a must for any Chicano music collection.
For more info visit El Chicano's
"The Best of El Chicano"
El Chicano (2004)
here to go to the El Chicano store at amazon.com
educator Jaime Escalante (compilation)
"Stand and Deliver"-
The new CD, compiled and released by East L.A.'s legendary
singer Little Ray Jimenez, aka Monchie Jimenez, features tracks
by The Delgado Brothers, Chico, Steve Salas, Geree Gonzalez,
Elijah, Chan Romero, yours truly, and other Chicano and Eastside
luminaries. Proceeds go to the legendary Garfield High
School teacher who was portrayed in the motion picture "Stand
and Deliver" by Edward James Olmos. Escalante, who taught
and inspired a generation of students in East L.A., was very ill
and facing mounting medical bills at the time of the CD's
release. Jaime Escalante passed away on March 30, 2010.
This CD will be a lasting musical tribute to Escalante who
taught calculus at my alma mater, Garfield High School from 1974
to 1991. For more info contact
Vista Entertainment at (323) 888-9884 or