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East LA is much more than an area located east of the Los Angeles River. Inhabited almost exclusively by Chicanos with their own way of life, there is not enough space allotted here to explain the East LA culture. Suffice it to say that back in the 60s, lowriders cruised Whittier Boulevard in old Chevys that had been customized so much that they looked as if they were from outer space yet only sit a few inches from the ground. They needed a soundtrack and it was provided by local groups like Thee Midniters, Cannibal & the Headhunters, The Blendells, The Premiers, The Ambertones and dozens others. These bands would play high school dances, union hall parties and supermarket openings; anywhere they could get a group of teenagers together and make some noise. There was a market for Chicano music ever since Richie Valens struck with ‘Come On, Let’s Go’ in 1957. In the 60s, East LA garages, where the bands rehearsed, were mined by record companies searching for the new sounds. Each of the bands could excel at ballad singing, as well as hard-hitting, Rolling Stones-influenced rock & roll and highly authentic soul music. One of the movers and shakers of this scene was a fellow named Eddie Davis, who started his Faro label around 1958. Faro issued mostly pop-oriented records, but also Richie Valens-influenced rockers like ‘So You Want To Rock’ by Chick Carlton & The Majestics. Davis formed other labels as well, like Linda and Rampart. Davis’ music enterprises really took off in 1964, when ‘La La La La’ by The Blendells, ‘Farmer John’ by The Premiers and ‘Land Of 1000 Dances’ by Cannibal & The Headhunters all became hits. All three songs were licensed to larger companies: Warner Bros, Reprise and Date, respectively. This compilation consists of tracks from Eddie Davis’ family of labels and it is evidence of the wonderful music that was made at that place, at that time, with a solid emphasis on the groove. R&B was always very important on the East Side. One of the primo music venues in the area was the El Monte Legion Stadium, which featured such fabulous acts as Don & Dewey, The Penguins, Chuck Higgins, Marvin & Johnny, Johnny Otis and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. Local musicians dug the shows and just about every East LA band covered the top soul hits in their live acts. Nearly every song in this box set reflects that influence. The included recordings by Sarah James & The Soul Babies, Thee Enchantments, The Majestics and Sammy Lee are among the finest soul records ever recorded, however they are never acknowledged in books about the genre. One of the best R&B records cut for Faro was ‘Tracy (All I Have Is You)’ – a cool, Ray Charles-influenced stormer – by a young Barry White (his first record) backed by The Atlantics. Also featured herein are some fine, fine, super fine party records: Little Ray’s ‘Come Swim With Me’, The Atlantics’ ‘Beaver Shot’ and The Blendells’ ‘Huggies Bunnies’ are among them. They liked to rock on the East Side, that’s for sure, and three of the tracks included here – those by The Romancers, The Premiers and Sunday Funnies – have enough beat, snarl and fuzz-toned guitars to count as garage/punk in anybody’s book. No serious East LA compilation of music would be complete without a romantic soul ballad. Dig ‘One Like Mine’ by The Salas Brothers with The Jaguars. PLUS, the totally grease-i-fied version of ‘Crystal Blue Persuasion’ by The Invincibles, a soul trio that had been kicking around LA for at least five years (with singles on WB & Loma) before it covered the Tommy James hit in 1969. Davis continued his operations into the early 70s with Gordo. Many of the songs recorded for this label exuded new-found Chicano pride, such as ‘Via Tirado’ by El Chicano and especially the two included here by Willie G with Six Pack and Two Tons of Love. Soon after, Eddie Davis lost interest in the music business. However, music lovers have most definitely NOT lost interest in the music Eddie Davis recorded. Here are 20 songs jam-packed with the grease and the grit – and mostly the soul – of East LA. - Phast Phreddie Patterson
1. Beaver Shot - THE ATLANTICS 2. Huggie’s Bunnies - THE BLENDELLS 3. Tracy (All I Have Is You) - BARRY WHITE & THE ATLANTICS 4. Come Swim With Me - LITTLE RAY 5. Girl I Love You - RON HOLDEN 6. Poochum - THE MIXTURES 7. Big Daddy - THE PAGENTS 8. Takin’ Care Of Business - SARAH JAMES & THE SOUL BABIES 9. I’m In Love With Your Daughter (Part 1) - THEE ENCHANTMENTS 10. One Like Mine - THE SALAS BROTHERS with THE JAGUARS 11. (I Love Her So Much) It Hurts Me - THE MAJESTICS 12. It Hurts Me - SAMMY LEE 13. Come On Home - THE FOUR TEMPOS 14. Crystal Blue Persuasion - THE INVINCIBLES 15. Brown Baby - WILLIE G with THE SIX PAK 16. Brown And Beautiful - TWO TONS OF LOVE 17. Get Out Of My Life Woman - THEE ROYAL CHECKMATES 18. Watcha Gonna Do (When The Dance Is Over) - SUNDAY FUNNIES 19. Love’s The Thing - THE ROMANCERS 20. Get On This Plane - THE PREMIERS