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El Chicano

Over the years, El Chicano has often been compared to Santana and, to be sure, there are a lot of parallels. Both are from California (although different parts of the state), both are led by Mexican-Americans, both have recorded in English as well as in Spanish, and both have favored a very eclectic and unpredictable mixture of rock, soul, funk, jazz, blues, and Afro-Cuban salsa. Further, there is no getting around the fact that El Chicano (whose Spanish name means "the Chicano" or "the Mexican-American") has been heavily influenced by Carlos Santana's outfit. Nonetheless, El Chicano has a style of its own and Santana isn't the band's only influence. Over the years, El Chicano has been affected by everyone from Chicano soulsters like Cannibal & the Headhunters and Thee Midniters to Latin soul-jazz favorite Pucho to salsa heavyweights such as Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, and Mongo Santamaria. El Chicano's members were not only affected by the Mexican-American experience, they were also well aware of what Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians were doing on the East Coast and in the Caribbean. El Chicano, which was originally called the V.I.P.'s, was founded in East Los Angeles (a heavily Mexican-American area) in the late '60s. The band's original members included co-founder/leader Bobby Espinosa (organ, electric keyboards, acoustic piano, vocals), Freddie Sanchez (bass, vocals), Mickey Lespron (lead guitar, vocals), Andre Baeza (congas), and John De Luna (drums). Along the way, El Chicano had more than its share of personnel changes; members who didn't join until the '70s included Ersi Arvizu (lead vocals), Hector "Rudy" Regalado (timbales, vocals), Max Garduno (congas), Danny Lamonte (drums), Brian Magness (bass), Joe Perreira (bass), Jerry Salas (lead vocals, guitar), Rudy Salas (guitar), and Steve Salas (lead vocals), among others. (The Salas brothers went on to join another East L.A. band, Tierra, which was an El Chicano spinoff and is best-known for its hit 1980 cover of the Intruders' Philadelphia soul ballad "Together"). After creating a buzz in East L.A. in the late '60s, El Chicano signed with MCA in 1970 and recorded its debut album, Viva Tirado. The instrumental title song, which was written by jazz pianist Gerald Wilson, was released as a single and became El Chicano's biggest hit; the recording reached number 28 on Billboard's pop singles chart and number 20 on its R&B singles chart. On regional L.A. charts, "Viva Tirado" spent about 12 weeks at number one. "Viva Tirado" (which was inspired by Mexican bullfighter Jose Ramon Tirado) was a rarity; in the '60s and '70s, one rarely saw any type of jazz instrumental -- straight-ahead, fusion, soul-jazz, or otherwise -- climbing that high up the national Billboard charts. When a jazz instrumental became a hit single in the pop or R&B markets, it was the exception instead of the rule. While the "Viva Tirado" single didn't make El Chicano national superstars -- they were never as big as Santana -- the band did acquire a loyal cult following and was especially popular in the Mexican-American neighborhoods of the southwestern United States. After the Viva Tirado LP, El Chicano went on to record several more albums for MCA, including 1971's Revolucion, 1972's Celebration, 1973's El Chicano, 1974's Cinco, 1975's The Best of Everything, and 1976's Pyramid of Love & Friends. El Chicano's second biggest hit came in 1973 when MCA released the brown-eyed soul classic "Tell Her She's Lovely" as a single. Nationally, the tune (which features Jerry Salas on lead vocals) wasn't a major hit; "Tell Her She's Lovely" only reached number 40 on Billboard's pop singles chart and number 98 on the magazine's R&B singles chart. But in Mexican-American neighborhoods, the song was huge -- among Chicano Baby Boomers, "Tell Her She's Lovely" was as popular as War's big '70s hits. El Chicano's contract with MCA ended in 1976; that year, the band recorded its first post-MCA album, This Is...El Chicano, for the independent Shady Brooke label (where the L.A. residents enjoyed more creative control than they had during their six years at MCA). The band's next LP, Look of Love, was released on Musidisc in 1977; then in the early '80s, El Chicano briefly recorded for Columbia, which released the romantic blue-eyed soul tune "Do You Want Me" as a single in 1983. Although not a national chart-buster, the song became a minor hit (primarily in Mexican-American areas). El Chicano didn't do a lot of recording in the '80s or '90s, but the band made a long overdue return to the studio with 1998's Painting the Moment. Released on Thump, that CD marked the return of original lead guitarist Mickey Lespron, who had not recorded with El Chicano since the '70s. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi
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Comments

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Sexy I love the words and beat!!!
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Cruising jam back in the days
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Still sounds kuul !
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Oldies but goodies are the best
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♥El Chicano♥
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I love all that sound cinco de Mayo Latin jazz I love salsa puro nica
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nancyweissbe i n
Yes! Definitely California music!
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Tell her. Tell her she's lovely. Chicano power.y_Que.
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How do you put ralfi pagan in the same category as el chicano.that s down rite rude
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Cali music �� baby
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Cali Music!.
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California Music...lala l a !
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favianc10
SS CPT
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Puro p**che ritmo ! Estan chingones !!! :))))
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Puro east los arizona mv...big magic
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nancyweissbe i n
Nice song, good instruments :) I lived in Hawthorne, Ca. Had a lot of Chicano friends.
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Este mexicano says i love this chicano much love california love it is yeah baby puro cali bud blaze it!
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sounds good in the barber shop
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Smooth groove
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♡♥
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SABOR A MI FIRME
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Yea! Lincoln park was the place to be. To see all the Latin bands cinco de mayo
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Nice!!!!
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Love El Chicano for ever!!!
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my pops use too bump El chicano on road trips when I was little :D
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Richard Vollaire, attended highl school
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I have no idea what they r sayin but it's still beaUtiful!!!
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Anyone that knows me knows this is my favorite song when they hear it they think of me
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El Chicano gets down with that sweet rhythm sick cantaloupe island y viva tirado sweet Latin jazz loving it.
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Proud of my cultura! Simon que si!


A
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El Chicano one of my favorite bands. The first time I heard this band was at a free concert on Cinco De Mayo at Lincoln Park in Los Angeles early 80's. The other bands that played that day Malo, Tierra, and ohh yeah Santana. I member "A" I was there with my parents eating a carne asada burrito from King Taco. I've been a fan of all those bands ever since. True story!!!
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ecaracheo739 0
this is my favorite version of sabor a mi. got to see them sing it in Hollister, Ca. in the 70's
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El Chicano is part of the American Chicano culture that has been labeled by extremists as anti-America n . How can it be if it is an American product.
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gina_s64
Love to hear this music at work. Makes me stay focused and mindful of my Chicana beauty!!
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My first husband Danny was the uncle of the drummer of El Chicano
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what wonderful memories of EL chicano
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I whached them play for a long time in san francisco. back in the 70s & 80s and still do on my cd s
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I am one proud Chicana and this is my kind of music, brings back good memories.
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potatersinwv
great station this Pandora selections.. . . . . g r e a t library of all music
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sooothing - smooth .
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yeah
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LUV THIS SONG!!!
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avilalakerfa n
"REPRESENT"
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I cruzz my low low to this or just sitting on the steps
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May Bobby Espinoza rest in peace.
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Love this type of music!!!!
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Sweet sound. Love it.
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Correction on "I'm A Good Women". The Singer's name is Lydia Pense & not "Pance". Minor error.
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El Chicano is a Mexican-Amer i c a n experience. They are legendary. They move my Chicana soul. Dominga
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ebmacias
I simply love it! grew up listening to El Chicano
proud to be a Chicana! Sabor A Mi one of my all time favorites.
I have listening since the 70's
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