AUDIO COMMENTARY

Los Angeles Eastside Sound

Time: 5:27 minutes
Excerpt: "In the early 1960s, Many teenage bands dreamt they would become as famous as Ritchie Valens. Scores of sharply dressed young musicians in matching suits jammed out to rock and roll at churches, high schools, and union hall dances."
full transcript

In the early 1960s, Many teenage bands dreamt they would become as famous as Ritchie Valens. Scores of sharply dressed young musicians in matching suits jammed out to rock and roll at churches, high schools, and union hall dances.  

Thee Midniter's 1964 song "Let's Take A Trip Down Whittier Blvd.," has the free and rowdy Eastside sound made by funky bass lines, growling chants, tambourines, shakers, and beefed-up horns.  All this plus, Hammond or Vox organs and electric guitars CREATE THAT EASTSIDE FEEL.

THE SONG "Farmer John" WAS THE first breakthrough hit for the Eastside Sound in 1964. it was a takeoff on THE ROMANCER'S "Slauson Shuffle”. BOTH versions inspired Mexican Americans teenagers to play the “Eastside Sound”. 

the sound of girls screaming and clapping  became another instrument that created the eastside sound.

in 1964, "La, La, La, La" by the Blendells feature the High and bright Mariachi trumpet and R & B  mute trumpet. HERE AGAIN WE HEAR THE GIRLS screams an instrument in the groove.

Who could forget the words to "Land of 1000 Dances?" Frankie Garcia did.   Frankie, as the lead singer of Cannibal and the Headhunters, covered his slip-up with an improvised "Na, na, na, na, na." The groups call and respones sounds like a train whistle. Frankie's brilliant  Mariachi-influenced vibrato hit the charts in 1964 and led to a tour with the Beatles. 

By the late ‘60s when the Vietnam War had changed the mood of East Los Angeles. a band called The V.I.P.S became El Chicano, changing their name to reflect their Mexican American roots.  Their 1970 hit "Viva Tirado" takes a jazz  instrumental and adds an intense interplay of drums,  conga, lamenting bass, and the signature eastside Hammond organ.

Long before their band Redbone became a household name with their 1974 hit "Come and Get Your Love," brothers Pat and Lolly Vasquez influenced the Eastside sound WITH THEIR GUITAR PLAYING.

IN THEIR SONG Lolly, the  Chicano-accented CHANT "Hey, what's the matter with you" combines with the TOM TOM drum to evoke their Native American connections.

Los Lobos from East L.A. is one of America's most important groups.  In "Volver, Volver," they play  the eastside sound with a twist- choosing to use Mexican folk instruments, lead vocals that have mariachi flavor, and augment with a sax. 

In "One Time, One Night," with its layering of acoustic and electric instruments like the conjunto accordion, heavy conjunto bass, and western "rootsy"  guitar, we hear the Mexican American experience. TheY SING about dashed American dreams "in an age old song about the home of the brave and this land here of the free."