A Treasure Found, to Share With the Gente

An excavation into the vaults of Rampart Records

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: November 30, 2005

A  Treasure Found, to Share With the Gente

A while back, I did a piece on Chicano music pioneer, actor, musician, producer and Emmy award-winning television sound man Hector Gonzalez (http://latinola.com/story.php?story=2849). Got some good response, especially from musicians and television people who collectively told me "...It's about time a Chicano got his due...".

I also had stated that he was also a (virtual) Lotto winner, having been the lucky recipient of having inherited Los Angeles's legendary record labels RAMPART, FARO, LINDA, GORDO, PROSPECT, and a few others from the late, great, Eddie Davis.

Eddie will forever be known as the white guy on the West Coast who believed in Chicano Rock & Roll in the early 1960's when nobody else would. A visionary for his time, Eddie helped put Chicano Rock & Roll, and many talented Chicano artists, on the American music map for all eternity. (When he first started, he had to make ends met by cooking burgers at his own restaurant!)

Giving such legends as Cannibal & The Headhunters, The Blendells, The Premiers, The Salas Brothers, The Romancers, Mark & The Escorts, Lil' Ray Jimenez, The Jaguars, and other great East L.A. Chicano artists their first shot at the bigs, Eddie's collection of recorded music spans over 50 years, much of it unheard of in the last 30 years...

...Until now! Check this one out, mi Gente!

As an Internet Oldies but Goodies DJ and radio personality, as well as a fortunate contributing writer for this fine webpage, I receive e~mails from all over the world from music affecionados asking for rare songs from the early Rock & Roll cruising days of the 1960's - early 1970's. 7 out of 10 times, I can usually accommodate requests, some I just have to scratch my head and say "...Sorry, never heard it, don't got it...".

Recently, my good friends, music producer Steven Chavez, and Mr. Hector Gonzalez himself, got together for a musical chat and the chance to delve deep into the legendary, mythical, rare music world of Eddie Davis & RAMPART Records, something only Hector could provide, as he is the only one with the keys to the vault, hidden somewhere deep in East L.A.

Like little kids going through a deceased rich relative's attic for hours, we came upon some of the purest West Coast music you can find, some still on original analog tape! For example, Hector played this tune that had Steven & I tapping our feet and admiring the excellent sound quality of something recorded over 40 years ago. After the song finished, Hector told us that this obscure group featured a 19 year old congero and bass singer named Barry White. YES! THEE Barry White!

Then, he played this early West coast funk song that featured youngsters like Bertha Oropeza (CHICO), Sal Rodriguez (WAR), Brandon Fields (Tower of Power), Sal Cracchiolo (Poncho Sanchez, Tito Puente and Tom Jones bands), Geoff Lee (Ray Charles' Band), and a little known bass guitar player named Hector Gonzalez, kicking out a hot tune called "It's Real" that could make the charts today. The group was called "The East L.A. Connection", and Hector told me that many of their tunes were never released in the United States. Shortly after recording this, the band members went their different ways, this music was stored and forgotten, and the rest, as we can say, is musical history as they all made their own way, many still performing today.

He played a lot more, a lot of it I've never heard, but that's all I'm going to say about "who" right now....

This rare collection, rarely heard in the United States, has attracted music lovers from around the World, most notably Mr. Shin Miyata of Barrio Gold Records & Lowrider Magazine, Tokyo, Japan.

Imagine that...Chicano Rock & Roll music from East L.A. playing big time in Japan! None of it available anywhere else...until now!

After many hours of research, hours of sampling rare music, haggling, discussing, and deep (and we're talking DEEP) negotiations, I am proud to announce that we are now going to put out a compilation of some of this early, rare West Coast Rock & Roll on a CD to be released soon, that will have you scratching your head and asking "Why haven't we heard this before?..where were we?...who sang that?"...

For whatever reasons some of this music was never released or given wide scale airplay back in the day, Hector Gonzalez and Steven Chavez have uncovered a goldmine that we will now share with the World!

Move over, Art Laboe, Huggy Boy, and Dick Clark! Here comes Frankie Firme...CHICANO!!

Are you ready for this, Mi Gente? Ever wonder what kind of musica Mom & Pop jammed to before they became your Mom & Pop?

Here it comes! If you like Oldies, ya gotta have this one in your collection! And you will hear about it first, here on LatinoLA.com!

Note: for advance info, contact: hector4rampart@yahoo.com or stevenchavez68@hotmail.com

About Frankie Firme:
Frankie Firme spins the finest Chicano Oldies on 3 Internet radio Stations, heard around the World:
website: www.frankiefirme.50megs.com

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