Those Oldies But Goodies

A local veterano puts it in a book

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: April 12, 2003

Those Oldies But Goodies

As an Oldies but Goodies DJ, I am sometimes looked upon as an anamoly, a dinosaur, promoting the tastes of a seemingly "lost race." A classic ranfla in a sea of SUV's.

"Oldies but Goodies," a term coined by legendary Los Angeles DJ Art Laboe, has come to have different meanings to different people. Being a Chicano who grew up in the 60s and 70s, Oldies but Goodies not only represents classic music made by young Latino and Black artists who, for different reasons never acheived national recognition, but also of a lifestyle.

This lifestyle, while embarassingly shunned by most Latinos under 40, signifies the struggle of a generation that found its place, when no places were available.

Young artists who were denied exposure to the mainstream music world nonetheless pushed ahead with their interpretation of popular music of their time. Their struggle to persist musically, coincided with the struggle for equal civil rights of the time. Caught between the Spanish-speaking culture that kept them at arm's distance, and an English-speaking culture that viewed them suspiciously, a young generation of Chicanos pushed forward with their take on Rock n' Roll.

A good example is Thee Midniters' classic tune "Whittier Blvd." Not only is this a fine example of musical talent/Chicano Rock n' Roll, it is one of the first "in your face, we're here!" musical gestures that current rappers, hip-hoppers, alternative and punk rockers now take for granted.

I could go on for hours on this issue, but I will save the uninformed the yawns. Suffice it to say most Oldies concerts I attend are usually standing room only events, by a good class of people (not just homies and gangsters).

Now, a talented and upcoming Chicano veterano writer and researcher has put together a comprehensive look at "Lowrider music" ( i.e. Oldies but Goodies). While not exclusively Latino, the music and the lifestyle it represents is well presented in this book. A must for collectors, it is also an education for young Latino musical artists who know not what came before them. What is significant about this book, as compared to other books on this subject, is that it doesn't stray into other genres of music, it stays focused.

Ruben Molina, a Chicano from Los Angeles, spent over four years traversing the country looking up artists of the past and the audiences that still appreciate them in his quest to finally put it down in writing. His effort of love of music and his people has culminated in his book "The Old Barrio Guide to Lowrider Music" (available from Mictlan publishing). Song titles, record labels, artist's names, historical facts and photos are all expertly presented in a format you can read over and over. It's about time!

Whenever somebody hears my show for the first time, or when I do a mobile DJ gig, I am always approached with some of the same comments and questions: "It's about time," "Nobody plays that good stuff anymore," "Where can I get some of this music?", "I remember that tune but I never knew who sang it", "some of this new music sucks", etc. I am a fan of many different genres of music, but my first love will always be the Oldies.

Thankfully, with Ruben Molina's new book, I know I'm not alone. I highly recommend you log onto http://www.mictlan.com and order yourself a copy of this extensive musical encyclopedia before they're all gone!

?Orale, Ruben! ?Si se puede, carnal!

About Frankie Firme:
Frankie Firme hosts "The 2nd Time Around Show", every Thursday at 6 pm, L.A. time, on http://www.KCLAFM.com. Website: http://www.frankiefirme.50megs.com

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