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Liner Notes for CD:  "Eastside Sound, Vol. 2
Featuring Mark & the Escorts" Dionysus Records (2001)

The East L.A. Rock Music Scene (c. 1964-66)

by Mark Guerrero

     East Los Angeles in the mid-sixties was a hot bed of musical activity, much like Liverpool in the same time period, or perhaps Seattle in the early nineties.  There were countless teenage garage bands rockin’ the barrio.  Many of the musicians had genuine talent and a large number of groups, especially considering the small geographical area, went on to achieve national hit records such as The Premiers, The Blendells, and Cannibal & the Headhunters.  Many friendships and musical alliances were made that last to this day.  There was a lot of friendly, and some not so friendly, competition between bands.  For example, during a particularly good set at St. Alphonsus Auditorium, my band (Mark & the Escorts) was unplugged by a rival group on the bill, leaving our drummer playing for a few seconds with no accompaniment.  On another occasion, a band hired to play our breaks wanted to rumble with us after the gig because we rejected their request to cut into our allotted time.  Fortunately, a couple of beefy friends of ours, acting as our roadies to get into the dance for free, defused the situation.  Our main rivals were The Exotics and The Emeralds, but we admired and were influenced by slightly older bands like The Blendells, The Romancers and Thee Midniters.  The music that we all played was a mixture of r&b, oldies, Motown, Stax/Volt, and British Invasion.  We had many venues to play and worked virtually every weekend and sometimes more than once a night.  A typical dance hall gig had four or five bands on the bill with each band playing one set. This was great because one could check out the other groups to see what they were playing and maybe pick up a song or a new guitar lick.  There were also wedding dances, quinceaneras (girls coming out parties at age fifteen), and the occasional house party. 

     There was a tangible excitement in the air.  We were pubescent boys discovering the joys of music and girls.  We had the cruising scene on Whittier Boulevard, car clubs, low riders, mini-skirted girls, disk jockeys like Huggy Boy and Godfrey playing our records on the radio, and the Record Inn and Record Rack selling them.  Bands dressed in matching coats, either velvet-lapelled or perhaps the collarless European style, and sometimes moved to choreographed steps with guitars and horns moving left and right and up and down to the beat of the music.  This was a special time when there were great musical artists in their prime on the world stage such as, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, James Brown, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding.  It was right after the John F. Kennedy assassination, when our nation began to lose its innocence, and before the advent of the hippie movement and psychedelia.  Drive by shootings, crack cocaine, and aids were decades away.  It was also right before the Viet Nam war escalated and began to take many of East L.A.’s musicians, breaking up many of the bands. Many others kept playing and evolved into groups that recorded for major labels in the 70’s and 80’s, such as El Chicano, Tierra, Macondo, Yaqui, my band (Tango), and Los Lobos.  A great number of us have been performing and recording to the present time.  This album will give you a taste of the style and spirit of the young groups that were a part of the 60’s musical revolution. Viva East L.A. and Chicano rock & roll!

Front and Back Cover of CD
 


 


 

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Mark Guerrero
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