East L.A."- a CD by East L.A.'s legendary doo wop duo, The
Heartbreakers. Brothers Benny & Joe Rodriguez sound as
good as they did in the early 1960s when they recorded their
classic "Eastside Sound" hit "Cradle Rock." "Greetings
From East L.A." includes a new recording of "Cradle Rock."
It also includes the Mark Guerrero song "Baby I Love You So," in
addition to songs by Chan Romero, Frank Zappa, Agustin Lara, and
Larry Tamblyn of The Standells. The CD captures the sound and style of
the classic doo wop days of the early '60s. For more info on "Greetings
From East L.A. write to email@example.com.
"Greetings From East
The Heartbreakers (2014)
Robert Lee Revue
"City of Smooth
smooth jazz CD by Robert Lee Balderrama, founding lead guitarist
of Question Mark & the Mysterians of "96 Tears" fame.
Robert is a fine jazz guitarist and has an excellent band as a
vehicle for his jazz side. He still performs with ? & the
visit the band's my space page.
"City of Smooth Jazz"
Robert Lee Revue (2012)
"Ilusiones de Mi Vida"-
A single by Aaron Ballesteros, also
the drummer for Chicano rock band Tierra. Aaron is the
songwriter, plays all the instruments, and provides
the lead vocal. This will eventually be a whole album of
what he describes as "easy
listening love songs," which are in Spanish. The title
track is now available as a download by itself at this link at
by a great Texas-based band led by singer/songwriter/guitarist
Jesse Flores. This album, which is bilingual but mainly
in English, is filled with excellent original songs and great
singing and musicianship. Highlights include the melodic,
acoustic-based "Caroline," "Entregalo,"
a Latin rock gem, and Vudu Cafe's rendition of Malo's classic
"Suavecito." I highly recommend you check
out this band. For more info visit
Vudu Cafe (2008)
go to the Vudu Cafe store at amazon.com
The fifth CD by one of my
favorite current artists. As usual, his song ideas and
the poetry in his lyrics are great. His previous CDs,
with the exception of one haiku record, for the most part
have funky music tracks behind the lyrics. His haiku
CD has the backing of unusual sounds, instruments, and effects
without a backbeat. On "Grab Bag," pc combines
the two styles to create a sound he calls "art funk."
You get the funky grooves under an avant-garde aural atmosphere.
The concept is accurately described in the subtitle of the
CD, "Otherworldly Sonic Adventures." The cover
and graphics for the CD are clever and fun. pc has several
guest artists, including Ingrid Chavez, who worked with Prince
in the 90s. My favorite tracks are "Archery,"
which has some cool poetry while being humorous, "All
Out of Everything, and "Sturdy Heart." Grab
Bag" is on Talking House Records, written &
produced by pc Muñoz. For more info on pc, see the review
below and visit his website,
pc Muñoz (2008)
pc muñoz and
the amen corner
"California"- pc is a mestizo Chamoru (Native American-Pacific
Islander) from the San Francisco Bay area, who performs spoken-word
poetry over funk, rock & roll, and hip hop musical grooves.
The Chamoru culture is from the island of Guam. According
to pc, 60 to 70 percent of Chamorus have Latino last names
because the Spanish, who invaded Guam by way of Mexico, came
in galleons that often included Mexicans as well. Therefore,
modern Chamoru culture has similarities to Chicano culture,
with a language that's a mix of the indigenous and Spanish.
pc's style is more in the spirit of Gil Scott Heron, rather
than the style of most current rap artists. According
to pc's record company, "pc's music is more for listening
than for partying." That's true, but you can certainly
dance to many of the tracks if you choose to because they
groove. His lyrics are intelligent, hip, and sometimes
sprinkled with humor. Many of his songs have choruses
sung by guest vocalists and his band is versatile and very
good. His latest CD is called "California"
and it's on Beevine Records. My favorite tracks are
"California," which features a chorus vocal by Jackson
Browne, "Brunching Britney and the Homeboy," "I
Didn't Steal Anything," and "Small Map."
"Brunching Britney and the Homeboy" is my favorite
song on the cd. It's about a homeboy whose got the hots
for a white, good girl, cheerleader type. The song addresses
issues of race and class with a bit of humor thrown in the
mix. All this over a incredibly funky track. pc
muñoz is an excellent urban poet with a lot to say.
Check out his website,
pc Muñoz (2004)
go to the pc Muñoz store at amazon.com
"There Will Be Signs"- CD produced, composed,
and performed by my cousin, Johnny Guerrero. Johnny
is a multi-instrumentalist, who plays all the instruments
on this collection of reggae instrumentals. Johnny was
a member of reggae bands Christafari and Temple Yard and has
performed with or on the bill with many major artists including
Beyonce Knowles, Sheila E., and Big Mountain. The only
guest musician on the cd is guitarist Tony Chin of the Soul
Syndicate Band (Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown, Lee "Scratch"
here to learn more about Johnny and his music on his my
space page. "There Will Be Signs" is available
at amazon.com at the link below and at www.cdbaby.com..
"There Will Be
Batista the Latin
a CD-EP by
the L.A. Latin rock band, led by Joe Batista. It's a
bilingual four song collection of Santana inspired Latin rock
featuring some fine vocals and instrumental ability by the
band. "I Feel Like I'm Flying" is a standout
track and the last cut, "Ritmo From With-in" is
an instrumental that allows the players to let loose and let
it fly. For more info on the band, click
to visit to their my space page.
Batista The Latin Rock Experience (2008)
"Just Enough To See the Sun"- CD by singer/songwriter Greg Esparza, who has in recent years
also been a vocalist with classic East L.A. groups Cannibal
& the Headhunters and Thee Midniters. In his solo
debut Greg's music is being compared to the current sounds
of artists such as Audioslave, Oasis, and Incubus. Some
of the tracks also have shades of the Verve and Toad the Wet
Sprocket. At times his vocals have a hint of John Bon
Jovi. Greg is an excellent singer whose voice and vocal
ability are better than the majority of alternative/pop rock
vocalists currently on the charts in my opinion. Greg
Esparza wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on this CD.
For more information and to order the CD, go to
For information of Greg Esparza in regards to his "Eastside
Sound" musical activities visit
"Just Enough To
See the Sun"
Greg Esparza (2007)
Los Lonely Boys
"Los Lonely Boys"-
an excellent young band from Austin,
Texas made up of three brothers named Garza. Henry on
guitar, JoJo on bass, and Ringo on drums. Yes, his real
name is Ringo. They all play and sing very well and
their harmonies are strong. Henry is a great guitar
player, whose style shows influences of Jimi Hendrix, Carlos
Santana, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. They write their own
songs which are mostly blues-based, but there are several
with Latin elements. Lyrically, most of their songs
are in English, a couple in Spanish, and some are bi-lingual.
Willie Nelson calls them his favorite local band and guests
on acoustic guitar on what's probably my favorite song on
the album, "La Contestacion." Their debut
self-titled cd is on Epic Records, a division of Sony Music.
I saw Los Lonely Boys play on a late night talk show recently
and was impressed with them. Many Chicano rock veterans,
besides me, are taking notice of Los Lonely Boys. John
Valenzuela, my former fellow guitar player from my 70s A&M
Records band, Tango, gave me Los Lonely Boys' debut CD with
a good review. He liked them so much, he went to see
them live on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," a national late
night television show, and was impressed with their performance.
Manuel Valdez, former lead guitarist with 80s punk rock band
himself a great guitarist, also likes the band. He particularly
likes the guitar playing of Henry Garza. If these guys
keep their heads together, they should be around for a long
time. For more information, check out their my space
"Los Lonely Boys"
Los Lonely Boys (2004)
go to the Los Lonely Boys store at amazon.com
CD by guitarist Abel Zarate and keyboardist
Michelle Pollace. Abel, who was a founding member of
70s Latin rock band Malo, describes the music as "Afro-Brazilian
global beat jazz." Abel Zarate displays his guitar
artistry and songwriting ability on this set of instrumental
tracks. One can hear shades of some of the artists who
have provided him with inspiration over the years such as
Carlos Antonio Jobim, Gabor Szabo, and Wes Montgomery.
Michelle's keyboard and writing style is a great stylistic
match for the talents of Abel Zarate. The cd also features
first rate guest musicians: John Santos on conga and
percussion, Paul van Wageningen on drums, Curtis Ohlson on
bass, and Anthony Blea on violins and violas. "Soul
Redemption" is produced by Abel Zarate, Michelle Pollace,
and Greg Landau. Abel Zarate is an important figure
in Latin rock history. His songs, arrangements, and
guitar playing appear on Malo's first two albums and he was
a co-writer of their mega hit "Suavecito."
He's also recorded and performed with Coke Escovedo and
Willie Bobo. For more information on Abel's career and
the Zarate Pollace Project, visit
Zarate Pollace Project (2005)
Beginning"- a CD by Bay Area Latin jazz pianist, Michelle Pollace. In 2005, Michelle teamed up with founding member
of Malo, Abel Zarate, on a CD called "Soul Redemption."
Pollace's new CD demonstrates she's also a formidable solo artist.
Most on the songs on the CD are written by Michelle, with the
exception of a Latin-tinged version of Harold Arlen's "Somewhere
Over the Rainbow," "Onda Do Mar, co-written with Abel Zarate,
and "LaComparsa," written by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona.
For more information on Michelle Pollace, visit her website as
Michelle Pollace (2013)
"Cada Loco Con Su
Tema"- an L.A. based hard rock-ska en Español band who have been
together about five years. Their first CD, which did
very well, included songs such as "Blanca Nieves"
and "Brown Impala." They've opened for such influential
Latin bands as El Tri, Victimas Del Dr. Celebro, and Ozomatli.
Their second CD, "Cada Loco Con Su Tema," is being
released on May 2, 2004 with a release party at the Roxy Theater
in Hollywood. Chencha is a high energy band, whose music
and spirit is in the same ballpark as Mexican rock icons,
Maldita Vecindad. To underscore the point, their new
CD is produced by Maldita's sax player, who's known simply
as Sax. Chencha Berrinches will begin a tour in May
which includes shows in California, Arizona, Chicago, and
Nashville. For more information on the band, check out
their my space page:
Learn about the origin of their name, which is quite amusing,
on their menu page called "the myth of Chencha."
"Cada Loco Con Su Tema" Chencha Berrinches
De La Navidad" (compilation)
CD release from Ramon Perez Jimenez, formerly known
as Little Ray (Jimenez). It's a collection of original
Christmas songs in Spanish, music by Ramon Perez Jimenez
and lyrics by Dora Ester Wynveltd. The CD, released
on Cosa Buena Records, features an array of lead vocalists
including Margarita Luna, Teo Franco, Leily Sanchez, Azuquita,
Stacie Chavez, Raymundo Monge, Daisy Gonzalez, Gabriela
Golding, 9 year old Teresita Osuna, and Ramon Perez Jimenez.
The musical styles of the songs include ballads, cumbias,
and mariachi-backed music. All the singers are excellent.
Ramon Jimenez takes the lead on the beautiful "Mi Tierra
Querida." Perhaps the best singer/performer to
ever come out of East L.A.'s fertile music scene, Ramon
can still sing with the best of them after more than four
decades as a performer. Much to Ray's credit, he has
created a recording studio (Sanctuary Studios) and a record
label (Cosa Buena) "to provide a haven for musicians
where they can work in a creative environment."
This first effort on his new label should be a staple every
Christmas for years to come, particularly for lovers of
Chicano and Latin music and generally for all lovers of
good music. In addition to Sanctuary Studios, Ray
has a management company called Vista Entertainment Group
and a booking agency by the name of Total Performance.
All three companies can be reached at 323-888-9884.
For more information on Little Ray's background, go to my
article on Little Ray Jimenez. Click
for the link.
"La Magia De La Navidad"
Ramon Perez Jimenez & various artists (2006)
Tim Weed, aka Tim
Weidenkeller, is a world-class singer/songwriter/musician who
has a new CD out called "Soul House." He's a
great lead singer and master of the
banjo and other stringed instruments. This collection of
ten songs includes my favorite "Love and Peace and Happiness," a
song on which I had the pleasure of contributing a harmony
vocal. Tim once performed this song for the Dalai Lama.
I also sang harmony on another of Tim's recordings which is
available as a CD single called "The New Old Pueblo." This
song laments the loss of a part of
Tucson's old barrio and some of its traditions. For more
information on Tim Weed and his music, visit
Tim Weed (2013)
Tommy's album called
"Keep On Moving" contains the old-school
style song, "Tell Me." Tommy is a strong singer and has
some excellent musicians behind him. Click on the link to
check out the video for "Tell
Me" on you tube. Click
here to download "Keep On
Movin'". For more info on Tommy Mora at Reverbnation,
"Keep On Movin'"
Tommy Mora (2010)
"What Is Love" is an excellent CD by singer-songwriter Sammy
Morales. It's a smooth collection of mostly ballads done
in a soulful, jazzy style. The
music is described in the album notes as: "a Soulful
timepiece of enchanting lyrics about love and life, words and
music by Sammy Morales and Albert Lucero, childhood friends that
collaborated on a truly unique CD." They're great songs
for which Sammy's vocal sound and style fit like a glove.
I've heard this album many times and have enjoyed it. My
favorite cuts are "Forbidden Love," "How Could You Walk Away,"
"Then There WasYou," "What Is Love," and "Since You've Been
Gone," which is a tribute to the late great John Lennon.
"What Is Love" is available at
myspace.com/sammysings for more info.
"What Is Love"
Sammy Morales (2009)
"En Mi Cuarto- In My Room" is a CD by Los Angeles
based singer/songwriter, Raymundo Monge. Raymundo started
his professional music career as a member of the youth mariachi,
"Mariachi Juvenil Voz de America," before moving on to the adult
version, "Mariachi Voz de America." However, his debut CD
features his singing and songwriting in what I might call an
"alternative" rock style that has overtones of pop and r&b.
Raymundo is an excellent vocalist and songwriter who sings in
both English and Spanish on this collection. Simply put,
Raymundo Monge is a real talent. Producers on the CD are
"Angry" Mike Eleopoulos,
angrymike.com, on "Regreso." (Mike has worked with
Fergie, Justin Timberlake, and Luis Miguel); Richard Mata, who
did the music arrangements on "Vuelve A Mi" and is the musical
director of Mariachi Voz de America; and David Soto III, who
works closely on Raymundo's live material and did production and
arrangements on "Dreamin", "Over to You",
and "Be Happy." "En Mi Cuarto- In My Room" is available on
i tunes and at
cdbaby.com. Check out myspace.com/raymundomonge for more info.
"En Mi Cuarto - In My
Raymundo Monge (2010)
"Con Mi Alma y Corazón" is a CD by
Tucson diva Olga Flores. This collection is dominated
by tracks where she's backed by mariachi, a style she sings
with passion and authenticity, however she shows her
versatility by singing several other songs in Tejano style
backed by conjunto instruments and even does a great version
of a classic r&b ballad made famous by Ray Charles, "You
Don't Know Me." I'm pleased to say Olga also does a
great job on this CD with my dad's great song, "Barrio
Viejo," which was inspired by Tucson's barrio where he was
born and raised. Olga Flores is an excellent vocalist
who sings with soul and heart, which makes the CDs title so
"Con Mi Alma y
Olga Flores (2010)
"From Where I
Rillera is a music veteran in the truest sense of the word.
After graduating college and teaching grammar school for two
years, he went on the road with two hometown friends, The
Righteous Brothers, and never looked back. In a touring
career with The Righteous Brothers which spanned some 30 years,
he served as their lead guitarist, bandleader and tour manager.
During some quiet periods in their career, Barry took time
off to tour with two bands of which he was particularly proud
- Ray Charles (1 year) and the Southern R&B/ Rock Group,
White Trash. He also recorded with Ray Charles amongst
many others, and did an album with Jerry LaCroix & White
Trash for Columbia. But, his heart has always been with
the blues ever since he first learned to play by listening
to B. B. King 78 records. This opened his mind to the possibilities
the electric guitar had in store for the changing music scene
at that time. Barry has stopped touring as a sideman
for other singers, to pursue a solo career, firmly believing
he has something to offer. Barry continues to follow
his passions, which are performing live and writing more blues
material. Barry Rillera CD is availabe at amazon.com
at the link below and
"From Where I Stand"
Barry Rillera (2005)
"Let's Take A
Trip"- a CD by the excellent singer from Santa Barbara,
California. The collection includes great covers of
classic r&b songs such as Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On," The
Temptations' "Ain't No Woman Like The One I've Got," and "The
Closer I Get To You" (a duet with Techeetah Lopez). It
also features songs by Smokey Robinson, Richard Bean (the
original vocalist of Malo), and Pepe's producer Carlos Guillen.
Guitarists featured on the CD include Ray Carrion and Tierra's
Rudy Salas. This album also has many great East L.A. guest
vocalists such as Steve Salas (the original voice of Tierra),
Gilbert Stokes, and Mike Jimenez. All the above singers,
including Pepe, are featured on a track called "Float On," which
is one of the highlights on the record. "Let's Take a
Trip" has excellent musicianship, arrangements and production.
Some of the tracks are produced by Carlos Guillen and others by
Jeff Lewis, the great trumpet player of Tierra who is also an
excellent engineer. Click on the links below to see three
music videos from "Let's Take a Trip."
On" featuring Steve Salas, Gilbert Stokes, and Mike
"Pepe Marquez"- the
singer from Santa Barbara, California has a CD out simply called "Pepe Marquez." This
collection is mostly made up of original compositions by his
producer, Carlos Guillen. Musical genres include r&b,
cumbias, a techno funk tune called "No Parking On the Dance
Floor," and a cha cha that's one of my favorite tracks, "Muchacha
Cha." The CD also features a duet with Steve Salas of
Tierra on the classic "Too Late To Turn Back Now" and two
tracks with Rocky Padilla, covers of "Tighten Up" and "I'm
Gonna Make You Love Me." The album closes with a cover
of Lionel Ritchie's "Penny Lover." Pepe has been singing for over 20 years and has opened for
artists such as Malo, Tierra, and Little Joe y La Familia.
For more information visit
Pepe Marquez (2010)
Highlights of Pepe's 2007 release
include the title track and a cover of the classic "Never
Can Say Goodbye." Most of the songs on the album
were written by Carlos Guillen, who's an excellent writer
in many styles. The songs on the CD are a mix of r&b,
salsa, and some nice ballads, both in English and in Spanish.
Pepe's previous CD called "Just For You" featured
covers of "Grazing In the Grass," "That's All,"
Debarge's "All This Love," and Neil Sedaka's "Working
On a Groovy Thing." My favorite track on this collection
is a cumbia called "Juana La Cubana/Mambo U/K.
For more information visit
Pepe Marquez (2007)
"Just For You" Pepe Marquez (2004)
"Heart of the
Warrior"- bassist/vocalist with roots in the
East L.A. music scene of the sixties, has a CD out with
a collection of songs with elements of Latin, rock, and
jazz. Alfredo has many musical credits, including
his participation as a bass player on part of Tierra's second
album, "Stranded," in 1972. The highlight
of the record for me is his version of The Beatles' obscure
but great song "There's a Place." It's always
been a favorite of mine and Alfredo gives it an excellent
Latin jazz treatment. He also puts his own style to
The Beatles' "I'll Be Back" and The Kinks' "Tired
of Waiting." Alfredo also writes or co-writes
most of the other tracks. For more information write
Alfredo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Heart of the Warrior" Alfredo Rubalcava (2003)
La Banda Skalavera
"No Está Mal"-
a CD by a nine-piece Los Angeles band managed by East L.A. music
pioneer Max Uballez. Max was the leader of 60s Eastside
band, The Romancers, who are featured on this website.
The music of La Banda Skalavera is best described in their
bio as being "firmly rooted in rancheras and rock &
roll, brimming with ska and punk attitude, a dab of reggae,
cumbia, and heavy metal interwoven with a Raza groove."
I haven't heard them live yet, but I understand they have
a lot of energy on stage and are very exciting. They
also write all their own songs. Their CD, "No Esta
Mal," was just released in December of 2004 with national
distribution. A national tour is in the works.
For more information on La Banda Skalavera visit
makzrecords.com or contact Max Uballez
La Banda Skalavera
"No Esta Mal" (2004)
smooth r&b vocalist from Southern California, who can
best be described as a romantic singer, since most of the
tracks on his self-titled CD are love songs. His music
also has pop and Latin influences. Anthony Prieto
has performed on the bill with some of the top Chicano artists
such as Malo, Tierra, Kid Frost, and A Lighter Shade of
Brown. He's also got a new CD out called "Life,
Love, & Desire" (2004). "Prieto"
is available at amazon.com at the link below.
"Anthony Prieto" (2000)
a CD entitiled "Lifetime Achievement"
has just been released by Brown Bag Records by the legendary
pioneers of Chicano rock. The band from East L.A.
goes back to the fifies when they played venues such as
the Zenda Ballroom and El Monte Legion Stadium. This
CD contains both instrumentals and vocals, covering classic
songs such as "Pachuco Hop," "Night Train/All
Night Long," "Corrido Rock," and "Stardust."
The album also features guest vocalists Rudy Salas of Tierra,
Steve Salas, Hank Castro, and Sal Chico. It also has
an intro by legendary dj, Huggy Boy. The Armenta Brothers
can still rock. My favorite cut is Frogman Henry's
"Ain't Got No Home" with an excellent lead vocal
by Rudy Salas. For more info on the CD or to order
See CD below.
"Lifetime Achievement" The Armenta Brothers
Time Again" is a CD by r&b/blues/Latin vocalist
Johnny Hernandez, who also happens to be the brother of Tejano
music legend Little Joe Hernandez. Johnny's voice has
an authenticity, style, and sound that works well with r&b
and blues music, which is what his cd is all about.
There are covers of such r&b classics as "Kansas
City," "Sweet Home Chicago," "Stagger
Lee," and "CC Rider." Johnny also does
a nice cover of Jimmy Clanton's ballad "Just a Dream."
There are a couple of songs written by Johnny, including a
cool blues song called "Wicked, Wicked Woman."
The CD closes with a salsa tune called "Todo Me Gusta
De Ti" that is one of the highlights of the album and
shows Johnny can also sing Latin music with authenticity.
For more information visit
"This Time (Again)"
Johnny Hernandez (2007)
"La Ventana"- La Ventana came together in January of 2005 from a core
of long-time Bay Area musicians who all shared the same
musical vision, "performing our own unique brand of
Latin music." The band describes their style as "Salsa
Rock." La Ventana music is made up of elements
of salsa, rock, reggae, and soul. The band members
have opened for and shared the bill with artists such as
Santana, Marc Anthony, Sapo, and Chepito Areas. Some
highlights of their new cd include "Te Estoy Buscando,"
a salsa tune in Spanish that kicks off the cd; "Mira
Mi Vida," a bi-lingual salsa tune; "Baby Please,"
a soul ballad sung in English with some subtle Latin percussion;
and "Friends Before Lovers," a reggae song sung
in English. All but one of the tracks are written
by lead vocalist Carlos Elizalde and guitarist Johnny De
La Cruz. Elisalde's provides excellent lead vocals
and the band can play.