Sunday, December 1, 2013

Rock and Roll in Tijuana-Mexican Style!

Night Time on Avenida Revolución in the 1960's
This is part of a multi-part post: Tijuana Day Trip

    It Started At The Border-A Visit To Tijuana Mexico
    Still in Tijuana and Enjoying the Music of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
    Still in Tijuana With Artists Inspired By Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
    Rock and Roll in Tijuana-Mexican Style!
    Tijuana Remixed: Molotov, Nortec Collective, and Faca
    Border Curios Part 1
    Border Curios Part 2
    Border Curios Part 3

    Bienvenidos, mi amigos. Welcome back, my friends, to our south of the border side trip from Old Highway 101 into Tijuana and its music. As we return we are going to step out of the goofy Tijuana Taxi that was the Tijuana Brass Sound and we are going to hit the streets for some real Mexican rock and roll. So instead of Americans being inspired to imitate the sounds of Mexico, we have Mexicans inspired to imitate the sounds of the US.

    Tijuana, being a border town, drew the attention of American broadcasters in the 30's, 40's and 50's. During the heyday of AM radio a station could broadcast hundreds of miles if it used a powerful transmitter. There was a limit to how much power a transmitter was legally allowed to have in the United States, but Mexico had far fewer restrictions. So several enterprising Americans (of the United States variety) set up shop in Tijuana blaring high frequency transmissions of pop music that could be picked up all over Southern California. While the stations were run as American stations for the American market, they could obviously be heard by any Mexican in Tijuana who cared to tune in. As you might expect, the kids did. As a result, the youth of Tijuana were exposed to American pop far more and with greater immediacy than much of the rest of Mexico. As rock & roll began to take off at least a few Mexicans in Tijuana were on board.

    Some of the earliest bands were Los TJ's, Los Tijuana Five, Los Rockin' Devils, Los Nite Owls, The Fairlanes, Los Duendes and there were many more. Avenida Revolución was crowded with night clubs that catered to American military and other rowdy drunken American tourists. At dozens of clubs such as El Blue Note, El Mike's, San Souci, El Bambi Club and El Unicornio, the tequila would flow and mariachi music and early rock and roll would blast into the night. Within the small world of Mexican rock and roll Tijuana was rivaled only by Mexico City as a source for rock bands. In one of the Tijuana bands, Los TJ's, a young guitar player who grew up in the border town got his first taste of musical fame. That kid would later become an international superstar. A few years later, he would move to San Francisco and start a band in his name: Santana.

    The blog Music For Maniacs, a few years ago, put together a collection of old records found in thrift stores and flea markets in East LA. It includes a few of the bands from Tijuana and several more early rock and roll-Mexican style from other parts of the country, especially Mexico City. As you can tell when you listen, these were guys trying to do American hits in Spanish for the Mexican teen audience. A lot like the famous nugget series of 60's garage rock, this stuff is raw, gritty, and rocking! It gives a great taste of what it might have been like to see some of those early Tijuana rockers.

    Album: Ya No Hay Beatles! A MusicForManiacs Collection  Various Artists DOWNLOAD LINK
    • Hey Joe Los Locos Del Ritmo -     Mexico City , Mexico
    • Todo A Su Tiempo (Turn Turn Turn) Hermanos Carrion -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • Ya No Hay Beatles Los Apson -  Agua Prieta , Sonora , Mexico
    • Tema do Los Monkees Los Aragon -  Mérida, Yucatán , Mexico
    • La Plaga (Good Golly Miss Molly) Los Teen Tops -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • Hey Lupe (Hang On Sloopy) Los Rockin Devils -  Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
    • Oh Mi Nina Los Rebeldos del Rock -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • La Hiedra Venenosa (Poison Ivy) Los Rebeldos del Rock -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • Si Ti Tengo A Ti Los Locos Del Ritmo -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • Viaje Submarino (20,000 Leagues) Los Apson -  Agua Prieta , Sonora , Mexico
    • Amarrado (Glad All Over) Los Belmonts -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • Memphis Hermanos Carrion -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • El Fantasma Los Locos Del Ritmo -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • Chica Alborotada Los Locos Del Ritmo - Mexico City , Mexico
    • Twist Hawaiano Los Apson -  Agua Prieta , Sonora , Mexico
    • Despeinada Los Hooligans -  - Mexico City , Mexico
    • Hanky Panky Los Hitters -  Tijuana, Baja California , Mexico
    • Pan con Mantequilla (Bread and Butter) Los Locos Del Ritmo -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • Corina Corina Los Crazy Boys -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • El Mongol Los Locos Del Ritmo -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • Senor Apache (Mister Custer) - Agua Prieta , Sonora , Mexico
    • Suzy-Q Hermanos Carrion -  Mexico City , Mexico
    • Paren esa Musica Los Aragon -  Mérida, Yucatán , Mexico
    This is a video clip of Los Rebeldos Del Rock, which appears to be from a Mexican version of a beach party movie. It may not be the raunchiest old Mexican rock track out there, but dig those hod rods daddy-o! And who can resist a twist party?

    My rather limited knowledge and very small collection of Mexican rock and roll leaves behind these early pioneers and move forward just slightly by looking at the group that some call "the Mexican Rolling Stones".

    In 1968 Alex Lora founded a band called Three Souls In My Mind. The name was picked to have a psychedelic sound. The band started out by singing rock songs in English, but that would change as Wikipedia explains:
     "As rock in Mexico was originally seen as 'unauthentic' when sung in Spanish, Three Souls mostly sang covers of American rock and blues songs in English. However, at the Festival de Avándaro, often called "Mexico's Woodstock", they crossed over, singing first in English, then in Spanish. From then on they recorded primarily in Spanish, writing most of their own songs. When asked why they switched to Spanish, Lora replied that it was important for the audience to understand the messages of the songs. While Three Souls had a popular following among the younger generation while singing in English, changing attitudes toward rock pushed the band to perform in the 'hoyos fonquis', where the lower classes held semi-chaotic rock shows."[3] Singing in his original language and for a new, energetic, young, and discontented audience, Lora's songs began reflecting more of the reality of the daily lives of average Mexicans.

    With the change to Spanish verses the bands name changed to the Spanish and was simplified as El Tri. Almost 50 years later they are still an active touring and recording act. They have dipped their toes into various flavors of rock music as almost any band with that kind of longevity might. Consistent throughout is are ragged snotty sounding vocals from Alex Lora. Punky classic rock stuff. My personal collection features 2 albums that have made their way onto the playlist.

    El Tri's 2000 album "No Podemos Volar" which translates as We Can't Fly checks in first. This was the first album to feature duets with other popular Mexican artists as was a popular trend in the 90's. Lora's voice sounds as raunchy as ever on the album.

    Album: No Podemos Volar    El Tri

    • No Podemos Volar 6:34
    • Madre Tierra 3:45
    • Ya No Existen Los Heroes 4:02
    • Amor De Los Dos De Octubre  5:04
    • Nosotros Los Latinos 5:33
    • Prueba De Amor 3:36
    • Todos Necesitamos De Todos 4:25
    • Cuando Estoy Con Mis Cuates 3:01
    • Chilango Exiliado 3:56
    • En El Ultimo Trago  4:40
    • Aca Tambien Se Cuecen Habas 4:11
    • Todo Por Servir Se Acaba  3:41

    The second album to be featured in the playlist was actually the first album I acquired by El Tri. Following in my habit of starting to collect an artist with their Greatest Hit packages, that's what I purchased to hear what his music was all about. The 2003 collection. "Los Número Uno: Éxitos 1968-2003" (The Number Ones 1968-2003) features what I assume is a nice once over of his hits. All I know is I like it and it rocks.

    Album: Numero Uno 1968-2003    El Tri

    • A.D.O. (En Vivo) 6:34
    • Nuestros Impuestos 2:30
    • Abuso De Autoridad 2:01
    • Oye Cantinero 2:39
    • Perro Negro Y Callejero 3:05
    • Triste Canción 5:42
    • Metro Balderas 5:42
    • Que Viva El Rocanrol 2:44
    • El Blues De La Llanta 7:33
    • San Juanico 5:25
    • El Niño Sin Amor 3:07
    • Mente Rockera 4:18
    • Difícil 2:46
    • María Sabina 5:13
    • Let Me Swim 3:50
    • Millones De Niños 8:08
    • Pobre Soñador 3:51
    • Los Minusvalidos 3:16
    • Las Piedras Rodantes 3:19
    • Todo Por El Rocanroll  4:45
    • Virgen Morena 4:33
    • Parece Facil 4:35
    • El Muchacho Chicho 5:10
    • Todo Me Sale Mal 3:44
    • Vicioso 2:26
    • Madre Tierra 3:46
    • Esclavo Del Rocanroll 3:13
    • No Te Olvides De La Banda 4:33
    • Chilango Incomprendido 2:57
    • Nostalgia 5:27

    To give you a taste of his music here is a fan video from his appearance at the Expo Rock Show in Mexico, presumably from 2008. Hopefully it will give you an idea of his sound and his popularity among the Mexican rock world.

    Thanks for joining us on this brief glimpse into the night life of 1950's and 1960's Tijuana and the classic rock scene in Mexico. Join us next Sunday for more from the border town. Saturday, we continue to explore Illinois through the eyes of Sufjan Stevens. We'd love for you to hop in the shotgun seat and ride along. Have a great week!

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