A Night of Blues, Oldies , and Chicano Rock & Roll

The East L.A Revue & Blues Straight up rock Montebello

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: June 10, 2004

A Night of Blues, Oldies , and Chicano Rock & Roll

Just when you think it can't get no better...it does! Nobody parties better or makes better music than Mi Gente. We know how to kick up the chancla!!

So it was, on a hot Southern Califas Saturday night, that I was honored to serve as MC and House DJ for Five Keys Productions' "Night of Blues, Oldies and Chicano Rock & Roll" Show at the famed Montebello Inn last Saturday in Montebello, California.

Starting off the show, the headliners, the renowned East L.A. Revue All Star Band got things started with their trademark "Eastside sound", that quickly filled the dance floor. Vocalist Maria Conchita Sandoval continues to "wow" the crowds with her dynamic & hard hitting vocals, commanding & sensual stage presence, and of course, her "smile that could break 1,000 hearts". Adding verve and attitude to the mix, vocalist Terrie Speed can hit them high & low notes with a classic style that leaves you breathless. These two ladies, when backed by the talented All Star Band, which tonight included veteran saxophonist George Gutierrez and jazz great Alex Rodriguez on trumpet. Make you want to get up and boogie down all night long! (And we did!)

Next, Blues Straight Up, a new group comprised of veteran performers, came out and made a serious impression on people with their sassy take on the blues, "Chicano style". Vocalist Lava Gonzalez (of Lava & The Hot Rocks fame) stole the moment with her sexy version of the Koko Taylor classic "You can have my husband, but don't mess with my man", which brought out loud cheers and attitude from the ladies in the house. (watch out, guys!) Other members of the group include veterans James Rodriguez on keyboard, Byron "B Man" Rodriguez on guitar, Smilin' Jack D on drums, "Big Mike" Rincon on bass, and Dave "Harpdog" Pearce on harmonica & vocals. Joining them tonight was East L.A. Revue Congero Ray Ybarra for that "lil touch of Chicano soul", and it was on! A great performance by a great group, Blues Straight Up comes at you solid & strong. They have a new CD coming out, and I highly recommend you pick this one up. You won't be disappointed!

Starting off their second set, the East L.A Revue All Stars welcomed on stage guitarist Mickey Lespron of El Chicano fame, who gave up hot performances of "Viva tirado" and "Coming home, baby", before introducing fellow El Chicano fame veterana, vocalist Ersi Arvisu (also of The Rayettes & The Sisters fame). Showing her stuff, Ersi broke out with her classics "Sabor a mi" and "I'm a good woman", that drew a standing ovation from fans who haven't seen her perform in years. As if this wasn't enough, the Revue then welcomed on stage vocalist Ernie "El Torpedo" Medina, who gave up heart churning versions of Midniter classics "Brother, where are you?" and "That's all" to an ever appreciative crowd. Talk about an All Star night....

A highlight of the evening came when The East L.A. Revue All Star band surprised Janie Chavez (wife of promoter/manager Steven Chavez), with teasing versions of "Las mananitas" and "Happy birthday", as today was her birthday. I saw a smiling Steven Chavez in the background, who whispered to me "She thought it was a show...it really was a birthday party for her...I had it all planned!" Orale, Steven! Now That's how you treat a Lady!

During the night I ran into Richard "Scar" Lopez of Cannibal & The Headhunters, Richard Duran of "Thee Mr. Duran Show", Chuck Herrera of East Valle Promotions, Sonia Garcia-Clyne of Turning Point Films, and Spooky Esparza of Orange County's Chicano Magazine, all enjoying the show and having a great time.

Closing the show, I was honored to have been asked to give a shout out and dedication to two young Marines (pictured) who were having their last party night in L.A. before leaving for combat duty in Iraq the following week. I played "Greetings, this is Uncle Sam" and "I'm coming home, please wait for me". To their surprise, every Veterano in the house, including Viet Nam Vets Steven Chavez & Mickey Lespron, came up and gave hugs, respect and well wishes to these two brave young men, who were moved to tears. It was a moment...you should have been there! (Pictures at www.eastlarevue.com)

And so, my musical journey through the boulevards of Aztlan continues...seeking out that cool, mature, good looking Chicano crowd and the music that intrigues people around the World...bringing you the full report here, only on LatinoLA.com!

...who knows where Frankie Firme will show up next?...hmmmm....

The East L.A. Revue All Star Band is currently touring Southern California, and are one of the headliners of the 2004 Latin Oldies Music Festival in San Bernardino on September 18th.
For more information, contact Steven Chavez at 909-653-7777 or stevenchavez68@hotmail.com

About Frankie Firme:
Frankie Firme spins the finest Chicano style Oldies but Goodies on Internet Radio, heard coast to coast and around the World every Thursday at 6:oo pm, pst, only on www.KCLAFM.com
website: http://www.frankiefirme.50megs.com

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