In 1964, East Los Angeles pochos The Blendells had a hit with a Latin-tinged cover of Stevie Wonder’s La La La La La.
In 1959, country singer Larry Bryant released a 45 celebrating his love of Tiquela & Mexican Beer. Music trade magazine Billboard called it “interesting” — not a good sign — and the record never made much of a splash.
But the original 45 (#101 — the first release?) on Santa Fe Records is a $25 collector’s item these days, so Bryant and friends were validated over 50 years later.
And even though his speeling is owlfull, we’re 100% in agreement with Larry’s high opinion of the aforementioned beverages, as well as his love for Mexican señoritas, tacos, tortillas and beans.
San Antonio sensation Vanessa Del Fierro is the alt.mariachi chingona behind Las Coronelas, whose mega-viral David Bowie cover almost blew up POCHO’s servers this week.
Vanessa also stars as an immigrant-smuggling coyote in a new video for her original composition Mexican Train. It’s a love song; too bad she’s in love with the wrong vato. Extra firme oldies points for the doo-wop backup girls, the triplets feel, and the tubular bells:
“Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone,” Ry Cooder sings. “Let’s pretend that we’re together all alone. I’ll tell the man to turn the juke box way down low. And you can tell your friend there with you HE’LL HAVE TO GO.” And then Flaco Jimenez plays.
Ry Cooder on guitar and vocals and Flaco Jimenez on norteño-style accordion make magic with the Ben E. King classic oldie but goodie Stand By Me.
PREVIOUSLY ON FLACO JIMENEZ:
The Los Angeles homie born Ezekiel Christopher Montanez became known worldwide as Chris Montez when his Monarch Records 45 RPM single Let’s Dance became an international hit in 1962.
Lalo Guerrero is the Father of Chicano Music. His amazing musical legacy (he died in 2005) includes the classic Spanglish “boogie-woogie jitterbug” Los Chucos Suaves – the kick-ass dance-tune inspiration for Zoot Suit (the musical.) We especially like the abstract piano solo that goes off into outer pachucostan and comes back in the nick of time. ¡Que suave!
Fifty 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.]
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.
You know him from Cannibal and the Headhuters and Thee Midniters: Pochas y pochos, please welcome the singer who is a legend of Chicano Soul, Los Angeles homie Greg Esparza, with the ? and the Mysterians hit, 96 Tears! On Twitter he’s OverSoulMessage.
PREVIOUSLY ON ? AND THE MYSTERIANS:
From Latino USA: Little Julian Herrera was a heartthrob singer in East L.A.’s rock and R&B music scene. But one day, he disappeared, taking with him the secrets behind his identity and his fate. A fascinating story from Alex Schmidt.
Who was she? Who was the high-flying Guadalupe who inspired all the boys to sing about her hotness 50 years ago? The Righteous Brothers were first in 1963 with the original Little Latin Lupe Lu, followed by the Kingsmen, and then Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.
Orange County native Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, who wrote the song, said he was inspired by a girl he dated named Lupe Laguna. Where is Lupe Lu now? Medley tells the story in this YouTube interview:
True story! My mom went on a game show and won a cruise vacation and left me home alone so I took the 1974 Dodge Dart with my crew and went cruising. Across the country. We paid our turnpike tolls and hit the road, taking turns driving so people could sleep in the back. Then we got lost in the middle of the desert. And look at this — a four-foot dude in a big sombrero. Hey, Pedro do you know where we can get gas and food? Sure, says Pedro, over there in El Segundo….
I photograph the rides and sometimes their owners standing beside them. I started off using the camera on my Samsung phone but it’s 3.15 megapixels proved to fall way short when I decided to try to print the images.
Compliments from friends family and Instagram followers convinced me it was time to upgrade to a real camera and take my hobby to the next level.
I began dragging my wife and kids to as many car shows as I could find and then getting home, going through the camera roll to see that day’s catch.
Pancho Claus? He’s Santa’s cousin from south of the border! Long before he recorded novelty tunes, Lalo Guerrero was a star. Some call him the Father of Chicano music.