Avandaro Sentimeinto Latino

Peace & Love Avandaro Sentimeinto Latino LP (Denver, 1971)

Two of my greatest pleasures are record hunting and traveling. I have been lucky enough to have a job where I am able to combine the two. There is almost nothing better than jumping into my truck for a cross country trip in search of records and books. Almost nothing better. In the last few years, my record hunting has lead me across borders. I have to say that digging for records on foreign soil might be better than cruising around the states. And, man, do I love record hunting in Mexico.

It is not that Mexico holds a lot of record treasures. I mean, I am sure it does but I have not hauled out boxes of great stuff like I have in the US. Maybe that is because I know shit worth of Spanish or that all mariachi and norteno records look the same to me. But that doesn't matter because just digging for anything in Mexico is like climbing into Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. The dirt, the dust, the poverty, the crazy fucked up characters, the shop keep who tries to rip you off, the cops who look at you so hard you do not look back and this just to get to a box of records in some market stall next to some toothless old woman selling squash. And then when you are done for the day, you take your handful of mystery finds and the few known treasure, like a Los Dug Dugs album, and you make your way to a little restaurant, buy a bottle of Pacifico for 75 cents, sit down and thumb through your scores.

I stumbled across this Peace & Love album in a small record store in Tijuana. At the time, I had no idea who Peace & Love were. However I could not pass up a record cover showing three band members nailed to a cross surrounded by other members in panchos and one with a gun. I found out later that Peace & Love were one of the main bands featured Avandaro music fest (which took place on September 11, 1971, Mexico's 9/11), a landmark event in Mexican rock and roll. The band also contained members of Mexican rock legends and probably that country's best band, Los Dug Dugs, and were to provide members for the equally influential band, Nahuatl. Guitarist Ricardo Ochoa is considered a pioneer in Mexican rock and roll and musical activism.

Peace & Love play a mixture of salsa, rock, and funk. Some times their music drifts into psych, other times it resembles Afrobeat. The rhythm section is as tight as they come. The guitar is both fluid and wild. And they have a mean fucking horn section.

I had a look out for records when I was in Mexico two years ago, but found it very hard to find anything. Sometimes you see a couple of hundred LPs stacked against a wall in the street, sun blazing down, everything warped and messed up. The Dug Dugs are cool, but my fave mexican record has to be the Kaleidoscope LP.
Here in India where I have been now for five months i have found only one place in Calcutta selling records, there were some interesting stuff Ananda Shankar, Sunny & Jetliners etc, and lots of wacky indian pressings of ACDC and John Denver, all warped and with dead cockroaches and ants inside the covers...
it is very hard to find records in "third world" countries. i know that by experience and from what others tell me. it is what makes finding them there all the more special. it is like gold mining. a couple things that help is knowing the name for "records" or "albums" in the language of whatever region you are visiting. this seems obvious but some people expect people everywhere to speak english. and dont forget a record might not be called a record but something like a music carrier. another thing i picked up from an article on record hunting in africa is carrying around a picture of a record. in mexico i took a 45 around with me and pointed to it. it lead me to several fruitful boxes. one thing to keep in mind is that for much of the world in the 1970s cassettes dominated so much good stuff was released on tape only and not records. and like every place, it is about being in the right place at the right time. good luck!
Just remembered that Puebla had (has) a very nice and very large open-air "antiques" market on sundays where you could find records and also lots of old mexican movies posters.
If you want to look for Mexican records in a clean "First World" environment, just come down to LA. It's been a few years since I looked, but I've found some great vinyl in latin music "discotecas" - '60s garage groups like Los Apson, Los Rebeldos de Rock, and Los Hooligans. Thrift shops, too, get some good vinyl - I once found a Guatamalan psych/surf record (!) in a thrift in a mostly latino neighborhood.

I don't necessarily pass over cassettes - one of my fave Mexican '60s garage recordings is a tape by the Rockin Devils.
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