Los Chavoz

Los Chavoz s/t LP (Flama, 197?)

Because I have yet to develop a taste for Tejano or Rancheros or Norteno buying Mexican records is a very, very big gamble for me. Let me qualify what I just wrote: I do very much like old Mexican music especially the Boarder music series put out by Arhoolie's Folklyric imprint. And stuff recorded in the 1950s, especially with female singers like Amalia Mendoza. But when you start tripping into the 60s and 70s, outside of some garage, psych, and hippie Latin rock bands, the music gets really formulaic and the production becomes slick. Regardless of where it comes from, any music that gets stuck and then crammed into "professional" production pretty much dies. The exception to that rule is, perhaps, Abba and other studio creations. Anyway, because of the plague of formulaic slickness, coupled with the fact that my Spanish is limited to menu items, pharmacia, "where's the bathroom?" and "is there a record store around here?" buying Mexican records sound unheard is a very big gamble for me, a bet in which the odds are in favor of the record sucking. So my expectations in finding anything good on a blind pick are very low. Thus when this album by Los Chavoz came up with a pretty groovy track, I was psyched. That there was a decent second song, I was pleased. The rest are more or less (lean toward less) listenable as background music, and that includes the Beatles cover.

I have spent hours searching for info on Los Chavoz but have found nothing. Though they might have released a 45 on the Gas label, I am pretty sure that this is their sole album. By the style of it, I am guessing that they might be from Tijuana or somewhere close to the US border. "La Cita" might be a cover, but though there is a songwriting credit (David Garibay) I can't find anything about the song either as "La Cita" or its English meaning "The Date" or "The Appointment". I am not even sure that the song was recorded in English, as there are plenty of Spanish speakers with the name "David Garibay". The song "Sano Buggie Azul" I am posting because I want to give you a taste of the one good non-rock/pop song.


The Impossibles

The Impossibles s/t LP (Metro, 1970?)

Before I go on, take a look at the record cover and savor the sight of that recording studio. Unless, they are covered in layer and layers of dust and grime - forgotten to time, revolutions, and technological shifts - studios like that do not exist any more. Too bad, because the sound that came out of place like that pictured above is one that can't be captured by the digital gear modern day studios are stocked with. Believe me, I know. I've spent far too many hours trying to chase after analogue tones in a digital world. It can't be done. Give me an ancient board that looks like it was used to launch rockets in the Mercury Program and keep you goddamn pro-tools to your self.

That said, if not for the digital age, it would have taken me far longer than an evening to find out that The Impossibles are legends in their native Thailand. Referred to by some as the "Thai Beatles", they formed in 1970 and were one of the first Thai bands to cover Western pop songs. In an essay on Thai pop, Michael Hayes notes that The Impossibles were playing against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, a Thai military dictatorship, and revolutionary turmoil in their own country. While students and rebels listened to pleng phua cheewit - a form of protest music called "music for live" in English, The Impossibles were the soundtrack to the apolitical middle class. And given their sound - which would have passed as sunshine pop in the US - their audience is not surprising. Because they covered American pop songs, The Impossibles were also popular with American GI's, which probably explains why I was able to dig up a copy of this record here in the States.

I can't tell you anything about this record other than what I can guess from the vintage of the recording studio and the threads our young mods are wearing. What I know is that they are fancy dressers and that three of them look hip enough to slime their way though Williamsburg, Silverlake, or the Mission. What I don't know is the names of these guys or the song titles. Everything on the record other than the band name and the names of the instruments, is in Thai.



Jeanette Williams Stuff b/w You Gotta Come Through 45 (Backbeat, 1969)

Me? Oh I have been dealing with time and health and life. Been busy as a fucking bee, actually make that a hive of bees. In case you don't know: I also do a record label and a bookstore (so if you want to throw some cash this way, you know where to go!). And lots of stuff going on with both of them. Been dealing with a damn back/kidney problem that seems to segue into a head cold - off and on for 6 weeks and I am as puzzled as you. And then there is life....so that is the reason for the sporadic posts.

This evening I treat you to Jeanette Williams and one of her fantastic funky forty-fives. Here you get a groover and a smooth one, both reminding me of some wicked Ike & Tina / Maxine Brown mix. On this 45, Ike is played by Andre Williams, a legend himself. Andre produced and penned these tune, giving them a filthy romp of a sound. And that is all you get from me tonight.


Going to Town

The Knight Beats Going To Town b/w Naughty Rooster 45 (Crystalette,1959)

Man o man, caught one of those bugs going around and it knocked me out twice and at the same time released three more records, organized a bunch of book talks, and fell behind on a load of things. Though I still have shit I need to write, I am catching up..thus this post.

Here are a couple cool rock & rollish instrumentals from right before surf took off. While I dig Duane Eddy and Link Wray, I am a sucker for those intros that have one foot in rock & roll, one foot in pop, and one foot in easy listening. Two other things that are common to the style are backing vocal - usually female, almost always used for atmosphere - and that guitar always shares the sound with a horn. The Knight Beats cover all that.

"Going to Town" is a simple tune that has a great strutting beat and noir undertones. "Naughty Rooster" starts off with a nice gimmick and runs right on through with it. Good guitar work, too. A strong B-side, too.


How Come My Dog Don't Bark

Prince Patridge How Come My Dog Don't Bark 45 (Crest, 1955)

'nother short entry. Prince Patridge did a few for Crest, a couple for Cat, and other labels. This is one of my faves, the original of How Come My Dog Don't Bark. Enjoy.

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