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Eleven time Emmy Award winning Los Angeles based Gordo Enterprises and Creative Teamwork Entertainment Inc. delivers a multi-faceted, full service minority owned Entertainment Company. As industry professionals with over four decades of experience, we believe that our task is to create a high visible identification of Latino and Mainstream talent with projects in a unique positive manner.

Our goal as CEO’s, Producers, Publishers, Managers, Recording Artist, Writers, Directors, Promoters and Network level technicians is to be recognized, as the leading Latino owned Entertainment Company in packaging independent quality presentations to the General and the highly desirable Latino market.

Gordo Enterprises and Creative Teamwork Entertainment Inc. are active voting members in the prestige’s National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and as well as respected by their peers.

Prepared by Gordo Enterprises and Creative Teamwork Entertainment Inc.©

The West Coast East Side Sound-Eddie Davis Story salutes their Latin contribution to American Pop Music that has been immeasurable. Yet, it not been documented for the Historical value and Cultural importance.

These 60’s East Los Chicano Rock Legends deserve the recognition and respect of both the General and Latino markets. It is a revel all documentation of America’s love for the passion of Latino musical accomplishment that will be dramatized by Historical concert footage and interviews that capture the spirit of this timeless musical experience. Followed by an exclusive “Live” performance showcasing the music and original members that forever captured the hearts of our youth. The West Coast Eastside sound is a musical documentary directed by 11 time Emmy award winner , Jimmy Velardeand produced by Emmy award winning Hector A. Gonzales and Miroslava Gonzalez.

The Rampart Records Story

 “The West Coast East Side Sound”

The West Coast East Side Sound-Eddie Davis Story is a Historic Entertainment Special, documentary series and concert tour that immortalize the 60’s East Los Chicano Rock Legends that have contributed to the Popular American Cultural Experience.

"Travel past the valley, until you see the bridge - over

the river where the music lives....Land of a 1000 Dances: shark skin suits,

Pompadour cuts, hair piled high - romances - it was an innocent time....Can

you hear the sounds from a place across the way, over the bridge in East

L.A.....Naa Na Na Na Naa!" Cannibal's Eulogy" Lil Rudy G. and The Chizmosos

Frankie Garcia was the famed lead singer of Cannibal and The Headhunters, the East Los Angeles band that scored a big hit in the '60s with a remake of a New Orleans jam called "Land of a 1000 Dances." A one-hit wonder, he died in 1996 at the age of 49, having worked most of his life in obscurity as a research nurse. (As a tribute, Chicano poet Rudy Gandara recorded "Cannibal's Eulogy" with East L.A. punk kings Los Illegals.)

With their version of the tune, Garcia and The Headhunters created an anthematic marvel of garage pop that gave credence to an under appreciated chapter in rock and roll.

It gave way to a world of inverted cultural values from the streets of Southern California, as a generation of young Mexican Americans searched for identity. America in the '50s segregated Latinos and portrayed them in a stereotypical or subservient light. Richie Valens began to change that as the first rockero of Mexican descent to get onto the American pop charts.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forced communities, by governmental decree, to desegregate. But barrios weren't overlapping yet and like all teens Mexican American kids wanted to whoop, holler, and dance. Bands rose out of garages, rec centers, backyards, and housing projects fusing a Chicano interpretation of Afro-American Rhythm & Blues with early Rock & Roll. Some referred to it as "Pachuco Soul," but it was simply called "The Eastside Sound."

It was music made by neighborhood bands with names like The Premiers, The Romancers, The Mixtures, The Village Callers, and Cannibal and the Headhunters. Heroes to lowrider car clubs, street gangs, and high school kids alike, they played two-three-four chord tunes on Fender or Harmony electric guitars and amps with drums, bass, and sometimes horns.

Eddie Davis came in contact with the Eastside Sound around '62 when he met East L.A. indie A&R man Billy Cardenas. The owner of Faro, Linda, and Rampart Records, Davis got into the recording business in '58 with the idea of making hits. With an impulsive seize the moment urgency, he and Billy formed a partnership that by '64 had them at their prime producing records as well as co-promoting dances at the Rhythm Room in Fullerton. It was an exciting electrical time.

"I named it after a card game of chance. But in Spanish, its also means lighthouse, a beacon," explained Davis in 1989 to rock historian Steve Propes about his first label, Faro. On this first volume of the West Coast Eastside Sound you'll hear the music that became Eddie's passion. A cruisers delight of "brown-eyed soul" that showcases the musical vision and entrepenueral skill of Davis and his associates. It wasn't all Chicano groups either as he worked with up and comers like Barry White, Larry Tamblyn of The Standells, and Frank Zappa.

Eddie caught the vibe and laid the foundation for everything that followed: '70s Latin Rock, '80s E.L.A. punk, Los Lobos, and '90s Chicano Groove bands like Ozomatli. The building blocks were set by young lords like Frankie Garcia who, after Valens’ untimely death, brought the world to East L.A.

Garcia earned his placa as a kid after biting a boy in a fight. Raised around the Estrada Housing Projects, he sang Doo-wop with the Royal Jesters and The Rhythm Playboys which in his early teens before joining friends, Robert "Rabbit" Jaramillo, Joe "Yo Yo" Jaramillo, and Richard "Scar" Lopez, in a vocal group they had around the Ramona Gardens housing projects called Bobby and the Classics.

Not long after that they auditioned for Eddie Davis. "I listened to them in a house in the project where they had a single microphone, an amplifier the size of a matchbook and about 14 brothers and sisters running around while they were trying to sing for me." They must have impressed him.

It was the nonsense chorus on their version of "Land of a 1000 Dances" - "Naaa, Na Na Na, Naaa" - that hooked the world. Legend says Cannibal forgot the words but the groove was so good he had to keep going and improvised this. It exploded into a hit and became Eddie Davis' biggest selling record. The East L.A. version broke nationally in '65 and peaked at number #30 for a 14 week run on Billboard's Top 100 chart. It opened doors for them including an appearance on Dick Clark's new show, Shebang.

"Land of a 1000 Dances" had everything going for it - groove, hook, talent. But it might have been different if things had gone as originally planned. Eddie Davis and Billy Cardenas were feuding as the recording was scheduled to be done. Billy, who managed Cannibal's back up band, The Rhythm Playboys, wouldn't let them do the date. "So we're at Stereo Masters in Hollywood and there's no band except for bass player Billy Watson," recalled Davis. "It was Wednesday night and I knew The Blendells were practicing so I called them and said I'm in trouble down here, come play this thing for Cannibal. And they did. The track also featured two bass players."

With visually exciting routines," they appeared on Murray The K's spectaculars several times. They opened for the Motown Revue in Spring of '65, followed by the "Holiday Show," and then the "Summer Spectacular," with Tom Jones, Ben E. King, and Ruby and The Romantics, who took them to Small's Paradise in Harlem (Wilt Chamberlin's club). They were driving audiences crazy!

Then things began to happen! "One day an agent came backstage," recalled Eddie, "and asked if they'd be interested in opening for The Beatles on their next tour." Were they ready? On their first visit opening bands had gotten screamed off stage. But on the Fab Four's second American tour, Cannibal and The Headhunters, backed up by R&B sax great King Curtis and his band, held their own, rocking stadiums from coast-to-coast.

The last time they played for Murray The K was the Christmas Party at the Brooklyn Fox Theater in NYC where it brought them together with Wilson Pickett. The soul singer heard "Land of a 1000 Dances," "Na Na Na's" and all, and quickly covered it, taking it to the Top 10 in '66.

While the group did several more recordings for Eddie, including their rendition of Ike and Tina Turner's "I Need Your Loving," done with the King Curtis band, they never were able to garner another hit. In late '67, Cannibal left the group to attend college. At that point the Eastside Sound was evolving again and taking in new influences. But they left an indelible mark on American pop music with a long-ignored chapter in rock and roll that is as valid today as it was then.

"This Eastside Sound thing was really a family of musicians who grew up and evolved together," says Max Uballez. In the early '60s, Uballez, a talented singer/songwriter, led The Romancers, a band which played a raw organic type of Chicano Rock & Roll and which many consider to have set the musical tone for the groups from the barrios of East Los Angeles.

Buying Fender guitars, Farfisa and Vox organs, and drums, they formed groups like The Premiers, The Blendells, The Jaguars and The Romancers, as well as vocal groups like Cannibal and The Headhunters. To a generation of young Mexican Americans, they were the stars of the Eastside, carving out a teen mystique.

In the West Coast Eastside Sound series you feel the excitement these bands brought to legendary dancehalls like The Paramount Ballroom, Big Union Hall, and El Monte Legion Stadium. It was where the party grooved with jams like "Rainbow Stomp," "Hector" and "La La La La La."

"We used to rehearse at the Lincoln Heights Playground and these girls would come and sit down outside and listen," explains Uballez. "Every rehearsal, there were the girls. We wanted to do our own dances but didn't know how. So we organized them into a non-profit girls club called The Romancerettes and we rented the GiGi Hall on North Broadway in Lincoln Heights and they threw gigs for us." They hosted young neighborhood bands like The Blue Notes, The Heartbreakers, The Occassions and, of course, The Romancers.

It was a hustling East Los Angeles A&R man named Billy Cardenas who found The Romancers and helped refine their sound. "I liked what I heard," Cardenas told rock historian Steve Propes in 1989. "Max was a very good entertainer who caught the eye of the people."

Billy thought he had discovered the next Richie Valens and ran to Bob Keane's Del Fi Records. Keane was interested enough to record a tune called "You'd Better" (one of Uballez's first originals) on spec, but wasn't sure about releasing it, so Billy took Max and the group to Magic Circle Records where they did it again. When Keane heard it on the radio it was contractual hell, with Uballez banned from singing on records for five years.

After the dust settled Keane gave the group another shot. Since Max couldn't sing, The Romancers did an instrumental album and scored a regional hit with "Slauson Shuffle." The group at the time consisted of Andy Tesso (lead guitar), Richard Provincio (guitar), Chris Pascoal and Manuel "Magoo" Rodriguez (bass), Armando Mora (sax), Manuel "Goofy" Mosqueda (drums), and Max Uballez (guitar and vocals).

In 1962, Eddie Davis was a popular guy, with his own restaurant, record labels and a TV show - Parade of Hits - where he presented live bands and promoted his weekend dances at the Rainbow Gardens in Pomona. The events were co-promotions with Los Angeles radio station KRLA and featured as emcees DJs Bob Eubanks (later of The Newlywed Game) and Dick Moreland. Watching Parade of Hits one day, Cardenas saw opportunity and began to bug Davis about a guest shot for The Romancers.

"We did a couple of TV shows with him, as well as appearances at Rainbow Gardens," remembers Uballez. "I've heard that what convinced Eddie to record Chicano musicians were The Romancers. He thought we were trying to play R&B, but we weren't. We just played what we heard in our heads."

The Romancers catered to high school kids and early lowrider clubs. It would be safe to say dance promoters like Billy Cardenas set the foundation for the lowrider car show with live music and the exhibition of customized ranflas (cars). It wasn't a formalized thing but rather something that just happened. Dances usually began at 9 P.M., but the clubs arrived early and parked or caravaned around, showing off the rides until the first chords hit.

Demand grew and soon Billy and Max were developing other bands to meet it. Max taught the groups songs and presentation, while Billy booked them on the Eastside circuit. But The Romancers were the big draw. So Billy and Max devised a plan where they put together two Romancers bands to play the same Romancers music, with Uballez splitting time between gigs as the bands’ featured star.

Money started coming in but soon the rigors of the circuit took its toll - fights ensued and, amidst finger pointing, personal tensions emerged. Max split. He was joined by Manuel Mosqueda and The Pascoal Brothers (Chris and Jimmy) of The Blue Notes. As a result Max and the new Romancers went off to work the Summer of '63 as the house band at El Monte Legion Stadium with promoter Hal Zeiger.

By that time Billy and Eddie were working together producing Eastside bands as well as co-promoting dances at The Rhythm Room in Fullerton. It was the days of Top 40 AM radio and in 1964 they scored their biggest hits with "Land of a 1000 Dances," "Farmer John" and "La La La La La."

"It was my idea to give it to The Blendells," claims Cardenas about La La La La La. Adds Eddie,” Actually, Stevie Wonder came to the Paramount Ballroom to make a guest appearance and we were there that night and heard it. I said to Billy, ‘Somebody ought to record that.’ And the next time I saw him he had it together with The Blendells.” “We put it into a groove and brought it down to the Eastside," says Billy with a smile in his voice.

The Blendels tune was recorded at Stereo Masters in Hollywood, although on the label it said that it was recorded live at The Rhythm Room. Not so. They faked the funk and had recording engineer Bruce Morgan liven the mix by adding an extra track of hootin' and hollerin’, a technique that had proven itself on "Farmer John" by The Premiers when Margie Garvajil and her friends from The Chevelles girls car club got in on the session.

Led by bassist Mike Rincon, The Blendells’ first gig ever was in 1962 for the Young Rabbits social club. A lot of people went through the band at first but by '63 they settled with Rincon (bass), Don Cardenas (sax), Ron Chipres (drums), Tommy Esparza (rhythm guitar), Sal Murillo (vocals), and Rudy Valona (lead guitar).

With aspirations to "make it," they contacted Cardenas, who took them under his wing, booking them at Big Union and the biannual Battle of the Bands at East Los Angeles City College. In a matter of weeks they were in the studio recording. Little did they know how "La La La La La" would turn their lives upside down. It was largely a Cardenas creation with a cool groove, a hip, muted trumpet riff, and, of course, Margie and the homegirls screaming on top.

A smash, it went national after Eddie licensed it to Reprise Records, reaching #62 in Billboard's Top 100. The Blendells were soon out promoting the single and then had the luck of backing Cannibal and The Headhunters on the mega-hit, "Land of a 1000 Dances." Unfortunately, politics, egos, money, and meddling parents all contributed to the band’s breakup a year later.

Singer Sal Murillo was the first to go. Eddie and Billy were feuding and parents wanted to know where all the money went. A lot happened very quickly. But the good can't be denied. It was a music that gave life to a generation of young Mexican Americans undergoing a process of assimilation into the American pop culture. What had fascinated young Pachuco zootsuiters in the '40s had transformed East Los Angeles into a '60s lowrider Oz with a music all its own. It was truly a golden era of the Mexican American experience.

In the late '50s maverick radio DJs like Wolfman Jack, Art Laboe, Godfrey Kerr, and Dick "Huggy Boy" Hugg blanketed Los Angeles with a grooveyard of vintage R&B and cruising oldies. From border radio stations like XERB in Rosarita Beach, Mex., and mainstream Los Angeles AM stations like KRLA, these DJs filled the air with "oldies but goodies." Their mystique would be immortalized in the film American Graffiti.

It was a sound Eddie Davis found intriguing as he was getting into the recording business. Although at first he produced "Your Hit Parade" kind of stuff, and eventually R&B and early rock, it was the hybrid music being made by Mexican American teenagers in the garages and backyards of East Los Angeles that really got to him.

Davis helped develop and promote a new style of rock and roll, inbred with an inconspicuous Latino flavor, that became known as the “Eastside Sound.” Eddie may not have understood it at first but, once focused, he championed it and led a handful of young Chicano bands onto the national pop charts.

Born April 26,1926 in Los Angeles, Eddie grew up in East Los Angeles (First & Boyle) and as a kid sang with the Bob Mitchell Boys Choir. Appearing in the films Boys Town, Angels with Dirty Faces, and The Men of Boys Town, Eddie was the one singing "Ave Maria" in a high soprano voice. A graduate of Fairfax High in Hollywood, he joined the Navy during WWII, and afterwards went to the University of the Pacific to study music. That didn't work out, however and he returned to Los Angeles with hopes of making it as a singer. He had no luck there either, but eventually landed in the restaurant business and made good.

Davis told rock historian Steve Propes in '89, "I decided if no one would record me, I'd record myself and produced the first custom session in 1956 at the Capitol building with me, Tony Butala, and a girl named Constance Ingolia. Later they became Tony with the Lettermen and Connie Stevens."

Listening back to his session, Eddie knew he didn't have it, but realized he liked making records, and that motivated him to start his first record label - Faro Records - in '58. His first major production was "You Are Love To Me," with actor/singer Ken Miller, who was in the movie I Was a Teenage Werewolf, with Michael Landon. The song bombed and Eddie lost thousands of dollars, but he was hooked.

Eddie's first records were nothing spectacular. He gave breaks to up-and-coming young artists like Larry Tamblyn (The Standells) and Barry White, and made inroads into commercial radio via contacts like KRLA program director Dick Moreland. But it was with his East Los Angeles records that he came in contact with an untapped Chicano market.

It was Huggy Boy, a DJ who broadcast remotely from Flash Music, a family-owned chain of black record stores throughout Los Angeles, who was one of the first to strike a chord in the Chicano community. Huggy Boy made his name in the '50s, broadcasting live from Dolphins of Hollywood. It was there he spun his blend of rhythm and blues and the emerging East Los Angeles "Pachuco Soul" from midnight to 5 a.m. on KALI, a local station serving the Mexican-American community. Early low riders would cruise and wave to him, or stop and make a dedication or request, as pretty young Mexican girls stared through the plate glass window.

According to Rudy Benavides, who worked with Hugg and was known on-air as “the Latin lover of Flash Music,” "He was very supportive of the local groups." East Los Angeles Chicano rock pioneer Billy Cardenas agrees: "I used to do dances with Huggy Boy and he would pound my bands on the radio. We promoted some good shows together.”

Billy opened the door to the “Eastside Sound” for Eddie Davis. There was a spirit in the music that Cardenas had helped refine. It was Billy who was in the trenches working with these bands and carving a loose knit talent agency. "I rehearsed these bands and taught them showmanship," says Cardenas. "I taught them to dress well, be on time, and everything else. This is what people respected."

The first band Billy brought to Eddie was The Romancers, a group led by the gifted singer/songwriter Max Uballez. But just as the Davis-Cardenas alliance was beginning, there was a falling out between Billy and Max. By the time Eddie's first Eastside recordings happened, The Romancers were working with Hal Zeiger, owner of Eldo Records. As a result, the first of the Eastside groups to record for Davis was The Salas Brothers, with Mario Paniagua's band, The Jaguars.

"My brother (Steve) was 9 and I was 11 when we first started singing," recalls Rudy Salas, guitarist/leader of the '80s Chicano funk band Tierra. "We were with The Jaguars at the time. All we did was vocals. They were in high school and we were barely out of grammer school."

The brothers were the darlings of the Eastside with a duet singing style that emulated the Mexican trio, Los Dandys. Taught by their mother, they came up with a distinct two-part harmony with a certain sentido (a different kind of feeling). They did everything - including R&B - this way. At the beginning of 1964 they remade Del Franklin's "Darling (Please Bring Your Love To Me)."

"We were Eddie's pet project," adds Salas. "He had a lot of hope for the band, and for me and my brother. He pushed us a lot and felt the group could go a long way. He was trying to do with Chicanos what Motown was doing with Blacks."

Eddie and Billy's relationship proved to be short-lived, peaking in 1964 with the production of some of their greatest sides. The first was a remake by The Premiers (co-led by John Perez [drums/vocals] and his brother Lawrence [lead guitar], with George Delgado [guitar], Frank Zuniga [bass] and Phil Ruiz [sax]) of the Don & Dewey tune "Farmer John." It was a good recording, an up-tempo song rearranged by Billy to sound like "Louie, Louie," but it was the super live sound that was added later that put the single over.

“When I heard it, I said, “We have to record this quick," recalled Davis in '89. "The Premiers were not the greatest singers in the world, but the record had such a groove. I was going to shelve it but our engineer Bruce Morgan said, 'You can't shelve a groove like that. It's too great.' But what are we going to do? You can't change the singers. So, The Premiers had a girls car club - The Chevelles - that used to follow them everywhere.

I got the idea of doing a live recording. Maybe we can generate enough noise so the vocals won't matter and the groove will carry through. So we had a party at the studio and had all the kids come down. Everybody was having a good time and we put the record on - in those days they had three-track recording - and while everybody was having a party we recorded the crowd on top of it."

Eddie and Billy were promoting dances at The Rhythm Room in Fullerton in those days, so they put "Recorded Live at The Rhythm Room" on the label. It became an instant hit and made the place popular. The Premiers also played a lot of "Teenage Fairs" where they sold the record on site. Smelling a hit, Warner Bros. soon called.

By the end of '64, Davis had crossed the “Eastside Sound” over onto the Top 40 radio charts with "Land Of A 1000 Dances," "La La La La La," and "Farmer John." But as the money rolled in, Billy felt he could do a better job promoting the groups and challenged Davis. The partnership split, forcing many groups to choose sides, which opened the door for Davis to forge new associations with folks like Max Uballez, Rudy Benavides, and others.

Over the course of his life, Eddie owned seven restaurants - The Pancake Twins, The Parkway Grill, The Eddie Davis Steakhouse, and others – and used them to finance his recording projects. When the bands didn't get rich like The Beatles, parents and band members blamed Eddie, but it was not a big moneymaking operation - he did it because he loved the music.

Recent books like Barrio Rhythm by Steve Loza, Land of a 1000 Dances by David Reyes and Tom Waldman, as well as writings by Ruben Guevara and Luis Rodriguez, have shed light on the contributions Davis made to this under-appreciated chapter in the history of American pop. It was a sound that Eddie, Billy, and a talented cast of bands helped cultivate in and around East Los Angeles

Now listen! And, as Cannibal says, "Follow The Music!" Yes, the music that rocked Big Union Hall, Kennedy Hall, The Paramount Ballroom and El Monte Legion Stadium back in the days when the barrio was a world all its own and these dancehalls were temples of joy, promise, and hope.

At the dawn of the 1970s, a generation of young Mexican Americans was reinventing itself. While the Vietnam War protests brought a newfound militancy to the cultural life of East Los Angeles, Chicano Power became the cry of a movement spawned by Corky Gonzales and his Crusade For Justice.

With its haunting bass drone, infectious organ vamp, Wes Montgomery-inspired guitar, and potent conga beat, "Viva Tirado," written by West Coast jazz master Gerald Wilson, became the unofficial anthem for a Chicano civil rights struggle. Performed by young Chicanos, who took the name El Chicano, it rocked the streets as the Eastside exploded.

Eddie Davis first heard "Viva Tirado" in 1969 on a tape made of an overnight jam session at his Teron Recording Studios in Hollywood. The group playing was The V.I.P.'s, a lounge band from the Kabuki Sukiyaki Restaurant. They had come to him through his studio manager and engineer, Billy Watson, who had heard about the group from his assistant Henry Espinosa, whose brother Bobby played organ in the band.

Thinking that "Viva Tirado" was an original by The V.I.P.'s, Davis, who had garnered three nationally charted hit records on his Rampart and Faro labels in 1964, smelled another. Eddie played it for his associates Rudy Benavides and Mario Paniagua, who liked it.

"We talked to the group and its leader, Freddie Sanchez, and let them know that I was interested in making a record release," Davis wrote in a 1988 letter explaining his El Chicano ordeal. "They were astounded and somewhat aggravated. Freddie said that it was only a break theme with no commercial value. As far as he and the group were concerned, the V.I.P.'s didn't want anything to do with it."

However, they agreed that if a single was released, they would be paid at union sideman scale. Eddie drafted an agreement and began putting together the single. The only question was the “B” side, and Rudy suggested that, given the length of the track, it could just be continued on the flipside as "Viva Tirado (Part 2)." For the single they decided to name the group Watson and Espinosa.

Eddie took the master tape to Ivan Fischer at I.D. Sound Studios for editing. However, when he returned a couple of days later, Ivan had something else for him to listen to. As Gerald Wilson's recording of "Viva Tirado" from his Moment of Truth album boomed from the speakers, Eddie realized that it was almost identical, note-for-note, to the V.I.P.'s recording. That night he went back to the Kabuki.

"I told them what I had heard and Freddie Sanchez admitted that the idea for their break theme came from the Moment of Truth album, but he didn't think that they had used enough of the song that they had to give Gerald Wilson credit. I told him that, in my personal opinion, they were wrong.... Freddie Sanchez told me he didn't care what I did. As far as he and the group were concerned, they didn't want to have anything to do with it, no matter what it was called, and told me to go away."

Given the impact of the word Chicano at the time as a popular usage for ethnic identification, Eddie decided to call the group El Chicano. It became part of a promotional strategy which he drafted for his Gordo record label called, "Chicanos are happening! The Sound Of The New Generation."

In December 1969 Gordo marketed three releases: "Tombstone Shadow" (with The Jaguars and The Salas Brothers uniting as The Six Pak), "Brown Baby" (by former lead singer of Thee Midniters - Willie G), and El Chicano's "Viva Tirado."

"Viva Tirado" broke in Baltimore and San Francisco and, based on early sales, had the potential to be a hit. With copies of the record in hand, Eddie went back to tell the V.I.P.'s. what was happening. They didn't believe it, didn't approve of the name El Chicano, and still wanted nothing to do with the record.

The single took on a life all its own and by February 1970 Johnny Musso, the president of Kapp Records (who had met Davis a few years earlier when he was doing West Coast promotion for Atlantic Records), was on the phone to Eddie trying to acquire the rights to the record. Eddie wrote him an insightful proposal of what he wanted for "Viva Tirado" and El Chicano.

In early March, after being shooed away again by The V.I.P.'s, Eddie signed a distribution deal with Kapp Records. Billy Watson and Henry Espinosa signed a recording contract as El Chicano, and Davis a separate producer's agreement. Pressing never stopped as the single climbed onto the national charts. Now Musso wanted an album's worth of stuff, but Eddie had no band.

Things moved quickly then as Eddie, Billy, and Henry tried to recreate the "El Chicano" sound. With a stellar cast of Eastside veterans like Rudy Salas (guitar), Randy Thomas (organ), Manuel Mosqueda (drums), Max Garduno (percussion), and Mario Paniagua (guitar), there were some fine efforts, but it wasn't the same.

In late March, Musso told Eddie that Freddie Sanchez had called him and said they were the group on the record. Eddie explained the agreement. A few days later he met with Musso, who had gone to see the V.I.P.'s play and felt that they definitely should be El Chicano. Also, after hearing the record on the radio in San Diego, The V.I.P.'s themselves were then into being El Chicano.

After reworking the legal agreements, the focus shifted to putting together an album. Davis suggested a live recording, and Musso agreed. They rented remote equipment and did a session at Kabuki's one night after their regular gig. The band included Ersi Arvizu (lead vocalist), Andre Baeza (congas), John DeLuna (drums), Bobby Espinosa (organ), "Little" Mickey Lespron (guitar), and Sanchez (bass).

After the record was released, the vibe between Eddie and the band was not good. They were angry about the liner notes he had written for the album because they were not specifically about them, but rather about what had made El Chicano happen for Eddie Davis. Despite it, they forged ahead and began to record a follow-up album, now as El Chicano, at Mr. Zaff's in El Monte.

"It was my intention to move them into a more R&B type of direction, which was the actual style of the group. They had a piece called ‘Getting Soulful’ that I wanted to capitalize on for a concept title,” adds Eddie in his letter.

The recordings at Mr.Zaff's never got off the ground and, after two unsuccessful nights, were put on hold. On May 1st, 1970, "Viva Tirado" went to #1 in Southern California. Soon tour plans were underway with appearances scheduled in New York City at the famed Apollo Theater and Basin Street East.

Two weeks later, Eddie threw a party for the band at Kabuki's to thank the industry folk and wish El Chicano well on their upcoming trip. But things had already started crumbling and the group rejected Eddie's suggestions.

The NYC trip was a blunder as their Basin Street gig was cancelled after they played the Apollo Theater. Eddie had tired by then of the band’s attitude and was working on other projects. Musso, who wasn't happy either, told Eddie to get busy with El Chicano again, and a meeting was set up.

Musso stressed how important new product was and wanted to record a new single. Davis disagreed and said that doing another album would establish them as recording artists. "I restated my plan of doing an album, Getting Soulful, directing the group in an R&B crossover groove, and letting a single find its way out of the album."

The band didn't like the idea. They wanted to do Latin Rock like Santana. Musso asked for contemporary Top 40. There was arguing. Eddie realized he had no future there and left. A couple of days later he terminated his producer’s agreement with Kapp Records, which let him keep all the material he had produced thus far except the "Viva Tirado" album.

At the dawn of the 1970s, a generation of young Mexican Americans was reinventing itself. While the Vietnam War protests brought a newfound militancy to the cultural life of East Los Angeles, Chicano Power became the cry of a movement spawned by Corky Gonzales and his Crusade For Justice.

With its haunting bass drone, infectious organ vamp, Wes Montgomery-inspired guitar, and potent conga beat, "Viva Tirado," written by West Coast jazz master Gerald Wilson, became the unofficial anthem for a Chicano civil rights struggle. Performed by young Chicanos, who took the name El Chicano, it rocked the streets as the Eastside exploded.

Eddie Davis first heard "Viva Tirado" in 1969 on a tape made of an overnight jam session at his Teron Recording Studios in Hollywood. The group playing was The V.I.P.'s, a lounge band from the Kabuki Sukiyaki Restaurant. They had come to him through his studio manager and engineer, Billy Watson, who had heard about the group from his assistant Henry Espinosa, whose brother Bobby played organ in the band.

Thinking that "Viva Tirado" was an original by The V.I.P.'s, Davis, who had garnered three nationally charted hit records on his Rampart and Faro labels in 1964, smelled another. Eddie played it for his associates Rudy Benavides and Mario Paniagua, who liked it.

"We talked to the group and its leader, Freddie Sanchez, and let them know that I was interested in making a record release," Davis wrote in a 1988 letter explaining his El Chicano ordeal. "They were astounded and somewhat aggravated. Freddie said that it was only a break theme with no commercial value. As far as he and the group were concerned, the V.I.P.'s didn't want anything to do with it."

However, they agreed that if a single was released, they would be paid at union sideman scale. Eddie drafted an agreement and began putting together the single. The only question was the “B” side, and Rudy suggested that, given the length of the track, it could just be continued on the flipside as "Viva Tirado (Part 2)." For the single they decided to name the group Watson and Espinosa.

Eddie took the master tape to Ivan Fischer at I.D. Sound Studios for editing. However, when he returned a couple of days later, Ivan had something else for him to listen to. As Gerald Wilson's recording of "Viva Tirado" from his Moment of Truth album boomed from the speakers, Eddie realized that it was almost identical, note-for-note, to the V.I.P.'s recording. That night he went back to the Kabuki.

"I told them what I had heard and Freddie Sanchez admitted that the idea for their break theme came from the Moment of Truth album, but he didn't think that they had used enough of the song that they had to give Gerald Wilson credit. I told him that, in my personal opinion, they were wrong.... Freddie Sanchez told me he didn't care what I did. As far as he and the group were concerned, they didn't want to have anything to do with it, no matter what it was called, and told me to go away."

Given the impact of the word Chicano at the time as a popular usage for ethnic identification, Eddie decided to call the group El Chicano. It became part of a promotional strategy which he drafted for his Gordo record label called, "Chicanos are happening! The Sound Of The New Generation."

In December 1969 Gordo marketed three releases: "Tombstone Shadow" (with The Jaguars and The Salas Brothers uniting as The Six Pak), "Brown Baby" (by former lead singer of Thee Midniters - Willie G), and El Chicano's "Viva Tirado."

"Viva Tirado" broke in Baltimore and San Francisco and, based on early sales, had the potential to be a hit. With copies of the record in hand, Eddie went back to tell the V.I.P.'s. what was happening. They didn't believe it, didn't approve of the name El Chicano, and still wanted nothing to do with the record.

The single took on a life all its own and by February 1970 Johnny Musso, the president of Kapp Records (who had met Davis a few years earlier when he was doing West Coast promotion for Atlantic Records), was on the phone to Eddie trying to acquire the rights to the record. Eddie wrote him an insightful proposal of what he wanted for "Viva Tirado" and El Chicano.

In early March, after being shooed away again by The V.I.P.'s, Eddie signed a distribution deal with Kapp Records. Billy Watson and Henry Espinosa signed a recording contract as El Chicano, and Davis a separate producer's agreement. Pressing never stopped as the single climbed onto the national charts. Now Musso wanted an album's worth of stuff, but Eddie had no band.

Things moved quickly then as Eddie, Billy, and Henry tried to recreate the "El Chicano" sound. With a stellar cast of Eastside veterans like Rudy Salas (guitar), Randy Thomas (organ), Manuel Mosqueda (drums), Max Garduno (percussion), and Mario Paniagua (guitar), there were some fine efforts, but it wasn't the same.

In late March, Musso told Eddie that Freddie Sanchez had called him and said they were the group on the record. Eddie explained the agreement. A few days later he met with Musso, who had gone to see the V.I.P.'s play and felt that they definitely should be El Chicano. Also, after hearing the record on the radio in San Diego, The V.I.P.'s themselves were then into being El Chicano.

After reworking the legal agreements, the focus shifted to putting together an album. Davis suggested a live recording, and Musso agreed. They rented remote equipment and did a session at Kabuki's one night after their regular gig. The band included Ersi Arvizu (lead vocalist), Andre Baeza (congas), John DeLuna (drums), Bobby Espinosa (organ), "Little" Mickey Lespron (guitar), and Sanchez (bass).

After the record was released, the vibe between Eddie and the band was not good. They were angry about the liner notes he had written for the album because they were not specifically about them, but rather about what had made El Chicano happen for Eddie Davis. Despite it, they forged ahead and began to record a follow-up album, now as El Chicano, at Mr. Zaff's in El Monte.

"It was my intention to move them into a more R&B type of direction, which was the actual style of the group. They had a piece called ‘Getting Soulful’ that I wanted to capitalize on for a concept title,” adds Eddie in his letter.

The recordings at Mr.Zaff's never got off the ground and, after two unsuccessful nights, were put on hold. On May 1st, 1970, "Viva Tirado" went to #1 in Southern California. Soon tour plans were underway with appearances scheduled in New York City at the famed Apollo Theater and Basin Street East.

Two weeks later, Eddie threw a party for the band at Kabuki's to thank the industry folk and wish El Chicano well on their upcoming trip. But things had already started crumbling and the group rejected Eddie's suggestions.

It was a crushing defeat and it caused Eddie severe anguish, both mental and financial. He lost it and went on a rampage, filling up garbage bins with his Eastside Sound papers, pictures, tape masters, and contracts. He threw a lot of stuff away or burned it. With nothing harder than trying to overcome the ghost of betrayal, he was through with it all and semi-retired from the recording business.

"Eddie lost his momentum," says Hector Gonzalez, bassist/bandleader of the Los Angeles Latin funk band, Lava and the Hot Rocks. "Not only did he lose El Chicano but his mother (Mabel), his right hand in both his restaurant and recording businesses, died as well. He basically pulled the covers over his head and disappeared."

In 1972, the 18 year-old Gonzalez, who later became heir to Eddie's recording and publishing estate, was attending Bell High School, playing in the Don Peterson big band, "Swing Inc." In the band was a trumpeter who was playing with local Tejano band, Mickey & The Mex Tex. They'd just lost their bass player and asked Hector to audition. Mickey Hernandez was hot and had two hits (on Gordo Records) charting on Spanish-language radio.

"I met Eddie when he came to see Mickey at one of our rehearsals. I asked him for his number, just in case I ever put a group together, and he was very encouraging. So when Harry Scorzo Jr. (electric violinist) and I put together our band, VaVoom, with the legendary East Los Angeles drummer Kenny Roman, who played on Tierra's first album, and with me on all those Ruben Guevara sessions for the Cheech & Chong movie soundtracks, Eddie got involved with us. He didn't like the name VaVoom and went to Rudy Benavides, who suggested the name The Eastside Connection."

Their 1976 Rampart Records debut was a disco version of the Mexican folk song, "La Cucaracha." In April 1977 they did a tune written by Scorzo called "You're So Right For Me," which was released in August, and chosen by Billboard as the Top Soul Pick of the Week in early September. A disco-dance hit, it charted in Pittsburgh and Montreal (Can.) and got rave reviews in the United Kingdom. The Eastside Connection revived Eddie and Rampart Records.

In the West Coast Eastside Sound series you hear the music of diverse young talent that Eddie brought to light. People say he couldn't say no. He figured if someone had it together enough to approach him about recording he'd check it out. Known lovingly as "Gordo Enamorado Simpatico Pelon," Eddie Davis gave his heart and soul to music and realized his dream for others unselfishly. Peace.

Eddie Davis

Los Angeles restaurateur and record producer Eddie Davis (1926 -1994) is an unsung hero of Chicano pop music. From 1958 until the early '90s he devoted himself almost exclusively to the development of Mexican American talent. In the early 1960s gave forum and opportunity to young up-and-coming musical artists, thereby helping to create that unique musical blend then incubating in the Mexican American barrios of East Los Angeles that became known as the “The West Coast East Side Sound.” With a roster of talented young bands like Cannibal and The Headhunters, The Romancers, The Blendells, The Premiers and El Chicano, the East Los Angeles-born Davis amassed an impressive catalog of music, which he released through his various record labels - Faro, Linda, Rampart, Valhalla, Prospect, and Gordo. With collaborators Billy Cardenas, Max Uballez, KRLA radio (Los Angeles) DJ Dick Moreland, Hector Gonzalez, Rudy Benavides, and legendary recording engineers Wally Heider and Bruce Morgan, Davis gave voice to an organic sound shaped from the same roots as surf rock but fused with ghetto soul and a raw Latino passion. It was a music that ushered in lowriders, cholos y cholas, and rocked weekend teen dances at legendary spots like El Monte Legion Stadium and Big Union Hall. Eddie felt it, and came close to creating a Chicano Motown as he became the groove merchant of the “East Side Sound” in the West Coast's Land of 1000 Dances.