Musical pochos: The Premiers rock ‘Farmer John’ (audio,videos)

thepremieresFifty years ago the biggest summer radio record was Farmer John, a cover of the Don and Dewey R&B hit by The Premiers, a group of pochos from East Los suburb San Gabriel. [Editor’s note: If you cannot access the NPR audio, blame NPR which is still using an outmoded, incompatible Flash-based media player.]

NPR reports:

In the summer of 1964, Beatlemania was sweeping the United States, young men were burning their draft cards and race riots were raging in cities across the country — and wrapped up in all of it was the biggest hit of the summer in Los Angeles.

Mas…Musical pochos: The Premiers rock ‘Farmer John’ (audio,videos)

Retro rockers Cutty Flam go to the prom: ‘Robot Heart’ (video)

Suburban band Cutty Flam, the Rock n’ Roll sound track to a 1950’s B-Movie starring Ritchie Valens opposite Betty Page directed by Quentin Tarantino, offer this new video for Robot Heart. It’s about life, loss, death and going to the prom, plus it’s easy to slow-dance to. (Video by Jose Emmanuel Varela for BrotherScienceTV and Cutty Flam.)


Mas…Retro rockers Cutty Flam go to the prom: ‘Robot Heart’ (video)

Black & white history: Juvenile delinquents ‘Ask Me, Don’t Tell Me’

Ask Me, Don’t Tell Me (1961, 22 mins.) Adult suspicion, pompadours, cigarettes, chromed cars, pool halls, the jitterbug and pinball machines conspire to turn kids into juvenile delinquents, but earnest do-gooders can save the day! Great rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack and candid footage make late 1950s early 1960s gang life look sweet — in the days before guns and drive-bys.

The camera follows the day-to-day lives of San Francisco teenage gang members (AKA “jacket clubs”) — white, Asian, Mexican, black — and the unfriendly world they inhabit. The documentary was produced by the American Friends Service Committee, which wanted to set the kids on the right path with community service projects.

MEChA changes name to one members can pronounce

(PNS reporting from WASHINGTON D.C.) The board of the historic student organization MEChA voted Wednesday to change the group’s name to something easier for its members to pronounce.

MEChA was born during the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, and its name — Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán — was an artifact of its 1960s’ genesis. But Xicano activism waned in the ensuing decades; every year since 1968, for example, the number of baby girls named Xochitl has declined.

Members are no longer interested in getting back to their Nahuatl roots and Los Angeles local chapter male co-chair David Hernandez told PNS that there’s no need. “I mean, I already am from Aztlán, Whittier, you know? And we don’t speak Spanish here,” he said.

Mas…MEChA changes name to one members can pronounce

Meet America’s first Latino astronaut: José Jiménez (audio video)

Just around the time actual Latino astronaut José Hernández was born, actor and comic Bill Dana (not a Latino) got famous playing José Jiménez, a sweet but dimwitted astronaut with a thick Latino accent.

It was the beginning of the Space Race and astronauts were America’s new heroes, but the very idea of a Chicano in space was a joke.

Mas…Meet America’s first Latino astronaut: José Jiménez (audio video)