This is the complete version of a multi-part post: Tijuana Day Trip
It is very long, so if you would like to see the individual pages they can be linked to below.
- It Started At The Border
- The Music of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
- 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
Old Highway 101 began in the American border town of San Ysidro. These days, San Ysidro is, in many ways an off shoot of the larger border city of Tijuana Mexico. We will start our journey there. Not only because the highway went there, but also because Tijuana and I have a history. Many a weekend was spent visiting Tijuana, Rosarita Beach and Ensenada Mexico when I was a young man in the 1980's and the northwest corner of Baja California will always hold a special place in my heart. As we will see, there is also some great music is associated with the city.
Tijuana from Wikipedia:
Tijuana (// tee-ə-wah-nə or //; Spanish: [tiˈxwana]) is the largest city on the Baja California Peninsula and center of the Tijuana metropolitan area, part of the international San Diego–Tijuana metropolitan area. An industrial and financial center of Mexico, Tijuana exerts a strong influence on economics, education, culture, art, and politics. As the city has become a leading center in the country, so has the surrounding metropolitan area, a major industrial and paramount metropolis in northwestern Mexico. Currently one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Mexico, Tijuana maintains global city status.
On the Gold Coast of Baja California, Tijuana is the municipal seat, cultural, and commercial center of Tijuana Municipality, covering 23.5% of the municipality. A dominant manufacturing center of the North American continent, the city maintains facilities of numerous multinational conglomerate companies. The 2000s (decade) saw Tijuana become the medical device manufacturing capital of North America. Also a growing cultural center, Tijuana has been recognized as a most important new cultural mecca. The city is the most visited border city in the globe; sharing an approximate 24-kilometre-long border (15 mi) with its sister city San Diego, over fifty million people annually cross the border between these two cities. This metropolitan crossing makes the San Ysidro Port of Entry the busiest land-border crossing in the world. It is estimated that the two border crossing stations between the cities proper of San Diego and Tijuana account for 300,000 daily border crossings alone.
Tijuana is the 29th largest city in the Americas and is the westernmost city in Mexico. According to the 2010 census, the Tijuana metropolitan area was the fifth-largest in Mexico, with a population of 1,784,034. The international metropolitan region was estimated to be just over five million in 2009 and approximately 5,105,769 in 2010, making it the third largest metropolitan area in the Californias, 19th largest metropolitan area in the Americas, and the largest bi-national conurbation that is shared between US and Mexico. Tijuana is becoming more suburbanized like San Diego; during the 2000s the drug violence had residents moving out of the congested urban core into isolated communities within the municipality and beyond, as evidenced by 2010 Census figures and growth patterns.
Tijuana traces its modern history to the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 16th century who were mapping the coast of the Californias. As the American conquest of northern Mexico ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Tijuana's new international position on the border gave rise to a new economic and political structure. The city was founded in July 11, 1889 as urban development began. Often known by its initials, "T.J.", and nicknamed Gateway to Mexico, the city has historically served as a tourist center dating back to the 1880s.
Tijuana has always had an appeal for Americans who want to experience a taste of Mexico while still spending the night in the United States. Its border crossing is one of the busiest in the world. This video is a short tour guide for the current city:
Tijuana has been a tourist center since the 1880's, but it really began its claim to the American imagination in the 1920's, when thirsty Americans would travel down an early Highway 101 to visit the exotic Mexico where liquor just happened to be legal,. Tolerant Mexican laws regarding prostitution drew a certain class of tourist. Jai Alai, dog racing and bullfighting all drew the sporting crowd and the vice of gambling. Being so close to the Navy bases in San Diego, and reasonably close to Camp Pendleton Marine Base, Tijuana is also a favorite place for military leave. On Saturday nights the Avenida Revolución, the main tourist drag of restaraunts, bars, curio shops and street vendors can be packed with American tourists cutting loose in Mexico as the have since the 1920's.
A little trivia about Tijuana is that the Caesar Salad was invented here. The story is that the chef of Caesars Restaurant tossed together what were essentially some kitchen leftovers together on a Sunday to fill his menu when he was low on supplies one after a particularly lively Saturday night. It proved to be so tasty that it began to be requested by return customers and a legend was born.
Not only a party town, Tijuana has a gritty and somewhat desperate side as well. American owned manufacturing facilities draw workers from rural areas of Mexico for employment within the city. The city also acts as a staging area for immigrants from all over Latin America intending to enter the US from Tijuana, often illegally. Many of these passers through survive in shanty towns near the border as they await an opportunity to attempt a border crossing. In addition, frequently deportees from immigration sweeps in other parts of California are deposited here by U.S Immigration. Release of Mexican prisoners from U.S. jails and prisons into Tijuana have also been reported. Drug cartels have had some significant activity in the city in recent years and the local city police corruption is legendary.
It is a lively and interesting city of contrasts and I am sure will continue to be so for many, many years to come. This video shows many images from the Tijuana of the days when Highway 101 went there. Later Highway 101 would be rerouted to begin in Los Angeles. But before Interstate 5, 101 was the way to visit Tijuana. As a bonus, this video features some music we will be listening to on our playlist in the next few weeks.
The Music of Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
Rock and Roll in Tijuana-Mexican Style!
If you asked any one alive in the 1960's what name comes to mind when you say the words music and Tijuana, most than likely their first response will be Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. It's not surprising, from Wikipedia:
Alpert and the Tijuana Brass won six Grammy Awards. Fifteen of their albums won gold discs, and fourteen won platinum discs. In 1966 over 13 million Alpert recordings were sold, outselling the Beatles. That same year, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized that Alpert set a new record by placing five albums simultaneously in the top 20 on the Billboard Pop Album Chart, an accomplishment that has never been repeated. In April of that year, four of those albums were in the Top 10 simultaneously.
The mastermind behind the wildly successful band was none other than Herb Alpert himself. Herb was as much of a master businessman as he was a master musician. In addition to his artistic contributions he was the A in A&M Records, the M being Jerry Moss. They founded the label in 1962 and ran the studio out of the Charlie Chaplin Studios in Hollywood, which will show up in the video embedded later in this post. The label was successful. From Wikipedia:
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, A&M had such acts as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Baja Marimba Band, Burt Bacharach, Waylon Jennings, Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66, We Five, The Carpenters, Chris Montez, Elkie Brooks, Lee Michaels, Captain and Tennille, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Quincy Jones, Lucille Starr, Stealers Wheel, Barry DeVorzon, Perry Botkin, Jr., Marc Benno, Liza Minnelli, Rita Coolidge, Wes Montgomery, Paul Desmond, Cat Stevens, Bobby Tench, Hummingbird, Toni Basil, and Paul Williams. Folk artists Joan Baez, Phil Ochs and Gene Clark also recorded for the label during the 1970s. Billy Preston joined the label in 1971, followed by Andre Popp and Herb Ohta in 1973.
But this is a blog about geography and music, so back to the music, and the story of Herb Alpert. While Herb Alpert's name will probably forever be associated with Tijuana, he was not Mexican. A child of Greek parents who grew up in a musical home in Los Angeles, Herb began to play the trumpet at age 8. He played at some school dances in high school and purchased an early recording device called a wire recorded and began experimenting with it. After high school, he enlisted in the Army and served 2 years performing in military ceremonies before returning to Los Angeles to resume his education at USC. While there he performed in the Trojan Marching Band and also made a few film appearances, perhaps most notably as "the drummer on Mt. Sinai" in The Ten Commandments. Moving forward in his musical career Wikipedia notes:
In 1957, Alpert teamed up with Rob Weerts, another burgeoning lyricist, as a songwriter for Keen Records. A number of songs written or co-written by Alpert during the following two years became top twenty hits, including "Baby Talk" by Jan and Dean, "Wonderful World" by Sam Cooke, and "Alley Oop" by The Hollywood Argyles and by Dante and The Evergreens.
All this and he was still largely unknown. But that would be changing before long.
Leaning on Wikipedia again, they explain:
Alpert set up a small recording studio in his garage and had been overdubbing a tune called "Twinkle Star", written by Sol Lake, who would eventually write many of the Brass's original tunes. During a visit to Tijuana, Mexico, Alpert happened to hear a mariachi band while attending a bullfight. Following the experience, Alpert recalled that he was inspired to find a way to express musically what he felt while watching the wild responses of the crowd, and hearing the brass musicians introducing each new event with rousing fanfare. Alpert adapted the trumpet style to the tune, mixed in crowd cheers and other noises for ambience, and renamed the song "The Lonely Bull".
It was a huge success of an album and I consider it to be a classic of 1960's pop music. The mixing of the title track in downright cinematic as Alpert launches into what is one of the greatest bullfighting songs of all time. The roar of the crowd really takes you there. Much of the album was created by Alpert overtub his trumpet playing slightly out of sync. It's success led him actually form the completed Tijuana Brass to adress the need for live performances. He got the right guys for the job based on there ongoing successes. Naturally, The Lonely Bull was the first album to make the cut on my playlist. You can find it here:
Album:The Lonely Bull Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
- The Lonely Bull (El Solo Toro) 2:18
- El Lobo (The Wolf) 3:05
- Tijuana Sauerkraut 2:50
- Desafinado 3:54
- Mexico 2:40
- Never On A Sunday 2:47
- Struttin' With Maria 2:15
- Let It Be Me 3:04
- Acapulco 1922 2:44
- Limbo Rock 2:12
- Crawfish 2:28
- A Quiet Tear (Lagrima Quieta) 2:21
Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass had a sort of post exotica lounge sound going for them. There music evoked "exotic mexico" but it was raucous and fun and less sensual than Les Baxter or Martin Denny, the heroes of exotic lounge music. It was a just a little dangerous too, Tijuana always having a little bit of lawless reputation, and that bad boy image game them a certain swinging credibility. Alpert's background also got them much in the way of commercial and soundtrack work that many people remember best from The Dating Game or a Clark Gum ad that used The Mexican Shuffle reworked as the Teaberry Shuffle. They were funny and filmed well. Their success launched a series of TV specials that I understand had good ratings. This long YouTube video has two of these shows which were sort of album length music videos. They are both kind of surreal in ways, but a lot of fun to watch. Give yourself a little time and enjoy:
I have a tendency as a music collector to buy greatest hits packages first, then I will get the individual albums over time to fill out an artists catalog. Due to this tendency, the next album on my playlist is Definitive Hits. Speaking of hits, Herb Alpert is the only artist to have a number 1 Billboard hit on both the vocal and non-vocal charts. The album lives up to its billing os being definitive. It covers all the classics, including another hit that is relative to our city of interest: Tijuana Taxi.
Album: Definitive Hits Herb Alpert
Album: Definitive Hits Herb Alpert
- The Lonely Bull 2:17
- Mexican Shuffle 2:14
- Whipped Cream 2:35
- Lollipops and Roses 2:29
- A Taste of Honey 2:45
- Spanish Flea 2:08
- Tijuana Taxi 2:07
- Zorba the Greek 4:24
- What Now My Love 2:17
- So What's New 2:10
- The Work Song 2:10
- This Guy's in Love With You 4:01
- Casino Royale 2:37
- Route 101 3:18
- Fandango 3:43
- Rise 7:35
- Rotation 5:10
- Diamonds 4:54
- Keep Your Eye on Me 5:13
- Making Love in the Rain 5:56
Continuing through my library we come to the third Herb Alpert album I have, Lost Treasures.I am often drawn to albums that features out-tracks and unreleased tracks. This collection gathers a bunch of that kind of material and slides in as the last Herb Alpert album to be included.
Album: Lost Treasures 1963-1974 Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
Album: Lost Treasures 1963-1974 Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
- Up Cherry Street 2:36
- Lazy Day 2:56
- Wailing Of The Willow 2:52
- Fire And Rain 2:44
- And I Love Her 2:47
- I Can't Go On Living Without You 2:38
- (They Long To Be) Close To You 2:22
- Promises, Promises 2:34
- Happy Hour 1:52
- Julius And Me 1:33
- I Might Frighten Her Away 4:14
- Alone Again (Naturally) 2:14
- Tennessee Waltz 2:34
- Tradewinds 3:03
- Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head 2:02
- Flowers On The Wall 2:07
- Popcorn 3:45
- Chris 2:33
- Killing Me Softly 3:59
- I'll Never Fall In Love Again 3:19
- Speakeasy 1:51
- Whistlestar 3:26
We continue poking around the musical backwaters of Tijuana Mexico. As we crossed the border, we explored a bit on the subject of Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass. The band was all over the charts and TV in the 1960's. Such an impact was sure to provide imitators. In the 1960's a few things were happening that would cause the number of imitators to be not unsubstantial. During the 1960's there were a lot of knock off labels that would take the popular hits of the day and release similar sounding records that would sell for low prices to careless department store shoppers. In a slightly less devious vein, there was a lot of music created as easy listening versions of pop hits to be used as Muzak in elevators, stores and restaurants. Due to the breezy pop sounds of the Herb Alpert, these Muzak versions don't stray as far from the original as, lets say a cover of a Beatles hit. In addition to that there were still a lot of active exotic Jazz bands floating around from the late 50's who could adapt the Brass sound with minimal adjustments to their playing style.
The amazing number of releases that came out have had the result that a breeze through most thrift store LP bins will find a Tijuana Brass imitator. The most famous of these imitators is really more of a spin-off than an imitation. Julius Wechter was a marimba player who was a member of the early Tijuana Brass. As a composer he wrote "The Spanish Flea". He was encouraged by Alpert to start his own band and the Baja Marimba Band was created. They were immediately signed to Alpert's A&M label and began churning out music very much in the vein of the Tijuana Brass.
The Baja Marimba Band were the campy bad boys of the Brass scene. Over the course of the 1960's they released several successful albums. They wore goofy sombreros, Mexican blanket ponchos, and obviously fake Pancho Villa mustaches. Many Mexicans were offended, but they were mostly considered silly fun in the 1960's. They were tasteless in more ways than just the racist caricatures. As a running joke, almost every one of their album covers has at least one band member who appears to be relieving his bladder with his back to the photographer. Stay classy, Baja Marimba Band! Like the Tijuana Brass, there wasn't a true Mexican among them. The one album I have of theirs is their 2nd, 1965's The Baja Marimba Band Rides Again. Here is the track list from the A&M website:
Album: Baja Marimba Band Rides Again Baja Marimaba Band
- Walk On By 2:58
- Guacamole 2:33
- More 2:23
- Dear Heart 2:58
- Majorca 2:31
- Red Roses For A Blue Lady 2:04
- Hecho En Mexico 2:53
- Woody Woodpecker Song 1:58
- A Spanish Rose 3:26
- Juarez 2:38
- Goin' Out The Side Door 2:33
And to further stimulate your senses here is a short documentary about the Baja Marimba Band. Unfortunately Amazon doesn't offer this album for mp3 download.
There is a whole Tijuana Taxi load of music from varied knock off bands doing Brass sounding records. A few years ago, in 2007, WFMU had a record a day that they posted for download. It was generally unusual out of print thrift store find kind of stuff, but I like strange audio so I was downloading it and checking it out. On August 20, they posted a a great collection of 100 of these tracks for download that they called "The Tijuana Sound (Box Set)". I downloaded them and thought they were a pretty fun collection. It truly collects the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Tijuana Brass knockoffs. The set is now part of the Tijuana section of the Highway 101 playlist. If you would like to sample or download the collection (It's free!) or its various tracks, as well as read a much better history of those bands than I can relate, then I urge you to go check it out.
Album: The Tijuana Sound (Box Set) Various Artists LINK
Album: The Tijuana Sound (Box Set) Various Artists LINK
- Hooray For Hollywood Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (1:32)
- Tijuana Taxi The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires (2:04)
- Pennsylvania 6-5000 In The Mood The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (1:57)
- Allied Moves To Tijuana Music To Move Families By Dick Boyell (2:34)
- What Now My Love Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (2:50)
- Spanish Flea Plays a Salute to Herb Alpert and the Tijuna Brass Peter Nero (2:18)
- Georgy Girl Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (2:44)
- Tijuana Taxi Sing Today's Classics The New Classic Singers (2:06)
- All My Loving Lennon & McCartney Tijuana Style The Toreno Brass (1:57)
- Whipped Cream Sour Cream & Other Delights The Frivolous Five (2:36)
- Spanish Flea The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires (2:18)
- Spanish Flea Spanish Coffee Time The Jack Lander Trio at the Fifty Fourth (2:09)
- London Bridge Kiddie Pops Tijuana Style The Nursery Brass (2:39)
- Mexico A Go Go New Hits From South Of The Border The Mexicali Brass (2:19)
- Peter Gunn Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (2:20)
- Sound Of Music Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (1:50)
- Can Can Sounds Tijuana The Trumpets Unlimited (2:45)
- Tequila and Squirt Squirt Does It's Thing The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (2:08)
- Tijuana Taxi Sour Cream & Other Delights The Frivolous Five (2:22)
- A-Hunting We Will Go Kiddie Pops Tijuana Style The Nursery Brass (2:23)
- Downtown (1:46) Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass - (1:46)
- Burrito Mistico Epices Cour Et Cuivres George Tremblay et ses Brass (2:11)
- The Dating Game In The Mood The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (2:10)
- Spanish Nose Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (2:45)
- I'm Getting Sentimental Over You The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires (2:14)
- The Yellow Rose Of Texas Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (2:16)
- Colonel Bogey March Sunday Night At The Movies The Brass Ring featuring Phil Bodner (2:10)
- Jingle Bells Tijuana Christmas The Border Brass (1:57)
- Spanish Flea Moog Espana Sid Bass (2:17)
- Eleanor Rigby Lennon & McCartney Tijuana Style The Toreno Brass (2:05)
- Green Peppers Colonel Sanders' Tijuana Picnic The George Garabedian Players (1:31)
- Chattanooga Choo Choo In The Mood The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (2:43)
- Little Brown Jug Kiddie Pops Tijuana Style The Nursery Brass (2:32)
- Never On Sunday Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (1:47)
- Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White A Demonstration Of The Big Astor Sound Dali Caldis Tijuana Brass (2:40)
- 24 Hours To Tulsa A Taste Of Tequila The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (3:12)
- Up-Up And Away Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (2:37)
- All My Loving The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires (1:58)
- Dengazo Viva Mexicali Brass The Mexicali Brass (1:40)
- Brasilia Brass Impact The Brass Choir conducted by Warren Kime (2:12)
- Strangers In The Night Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (2:25)
- The Lonely Bull Sour Cream & Other Delights The Frivolous Five (2:34)
- What Now My Love - Music To Watch Girls By Non-Stop Dancing The Bert Best Band (2:12)
- Music To Watch Girls By Georgy Girl and Other Music to Watch Girls By Living Marimbas (2:43)
- Flowers On The Wall A Taste Of Tequila The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (2:21)
- Tijuana Taxi Dale Zeigler (1:19)
- Begin The Beguine Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (3:26)
- It's Not Unusual Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (2:10)
- Mexican Paradise (Alla Cugat) La Magnifique (Soundtrack) Claude Bolling (3:16)
- Mexican Breakfast Harper (Soundtrack) Johnny Mandel (2:09)
- Tijuana Taxi The Going Thing 1969 The Going Thing (2:16)
- Tsena, Tsena Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (2:12)
- Spanish Flea Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (2:12)
- A Taste Of Honey Sour Cream & Other Delights The Frivolous Five (2:40)
- Please Please Me Lennon & McCartney Tijuana Style The Toreno Brass (2:01)
- (I've Got A Gal In) Kalamazoo In The Mood The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (2:32)
- A Taste Of Honey The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires (2:19)
- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Tijuana Christmas The Border Brass (1:58)
- Third Man Theme Colonel Sanders' Tijuana Picnic The George Garabedian Players (2:35)
- Malaguena Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (3:09)
- Habanera Viva Mexicali Brass The Mexicali Brass - (3:22)
- Sombrero Tijuana Taxi Guadalajara Brass (2:59)
- The Lonely Bull/Spanish Flea Terry Canady With Rudy Perez Terry Canady with Rudy Perez (2:20)
- Winchester Cathedral Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (2:15)
- Chiquita Banana Hats Off The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (1:57)
- Alley Cat The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires (2:16)
- Tijuana Taxi Plays a Salute to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Peter Nero (2:02)
- Swanee River What Now My Love The Mexicali Brass (2:14)
- A Taste Of Honey Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (2:03)
- Spanish Flea Golden Instrumental Hits Many Moogs of Killer Watts (1:41)
- Spanish Flea 1999 WFMU Marathon Disc Optiganally Yours (1:07)
- Tijuana Taxi W.C. Sullivan Junior High School (1:49)
- Tijuana Taxi Junior Band 1967 Westchester Junior High School Concert Band (2:11)
- Frere Jacques Kiddie Pops Tijuana Style The Nursery Brass (2:49)
- The Unocal Song Radio Spot Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (0:59)
- People Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (2:24)
- Born Free Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (2:27)
- Mexican Shuffle The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires (2:07)
- A Taste Of Honey Sing Today's Classics The New Classic Singers (1:57)
- Sorry About That, Herb 45 single The Chipmunks (1:54)
- From Me To You Lennon & McCartney Tijuana Style The Toreno Brass (2:21)
- What Now My Love Sour Cream & Other Delights The Frivolous Five (2:14)
- The Mexican Shuffle Plays a Salute to Herb Alpert and the Tijuna Brass Peter Nero (2:12)
- In The Mood In The Mood The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (2:45)
- Mama Inez New Hits From South Of The Border The Mexicali Brass (2:30)
- Chicken Fat Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass Al Tijuana & His Jewish Brass (2:02)
- Whipped Cream Hooray For Hollywood The George Garabedian Players and the Awful Trumpet of Harry Arms (1:34)
- Spanish Flea Sour Cream & Other Delights The Frivolous Five (2:15)
- It's Too Late Hats Off The Mariachi Brass featuring Chet Baker (2:39)
- Mexican Trumpets Midnight Flyer Ray Anthony (1:40)
- Our Day Will Come Colonel Sanders' Tijuana Picnic The George Garabedian Players (2:24)
- Serape Tijuana Taxi Guadalajara Brass (2:28)
- Aztec Two Step What Now My Love The Mexicali Brass (1:44)
- El Toro Colonel Sanders' Tijuana Picnic The George Garabedian Players (2:08)
- Michelle Viva Tijuana! The Fiesta Brass (2:34)
- A Taste Of Honey A Taste Of Honey Living Brass (2:55)
- La Cinquantaine New Hits From South Of The Border The Mexicali Brass (2:31)
- Dating Game Theme Themes From Game Shows Chuck Barris Productions (2:27)
- Mexican Shuffle British Percussion Le London All Star (2:11)
- What Now My Love The Mods salute Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass The Modernaires (2:10)
|Night Time on Avenida Revolución in the 1960's|
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." 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
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
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.
In the 50's and 60's there was no such thing as rap music and electronic music was still pretty primitive. Things have changed and the modern Tijuana music in my collection leans more to the electronic and hip hop direction.
The next artist to make its way into the playlist is not really a band from Tijuana, they are from Mexico City. Molotov were formed in 1995 and have won four Latin Grammy Awards and the band's albums have seen gold and platinum sales in Mexico, Argentina and Colombia, Chile and the United States.. They have been called, by some, Mexico's Rage Against The Machine. It's not a bad comparison. Molotov are a group of four guys, Three who are Mexican and one who is American. They play a bass and Guitar hybrid of hip hip and punk rock in a blend of Spanish and English. They have achieved success with their politically charged music addressing social issues, immigration and Mexican politics. Their song "Gimme Tha Power" criticized Mexico's one party system in the late 1990's. It was reflective of a lot of the populations feelings at the time. In 2000 PRI, Mexico's ruling party at the time, was lost its first Presidential election since the 1940's.
In spite of a fairly leftist political stance the band have garnered some anger and controversy from segments of the LGBT community. In one of their songs, "Puto" the word maricon is used. A slur for homosexuals, the band attempted to defend itself by saying that it was Mexico City street slang for "coward" and that no homophobic intent was there. They have since pulled the word from the song in live performance and have donated a portion of tour proceeds to LGBT organizations. Their facebook page included the following as an apology:
"We are saddened by the recent attack on Esteban Navarro in Chile. This was an act of discrimination and hatred which cannot be tolerated and no one should be a target of violence because they are LGBT. As an act of solidarity with Esteban Navarro and the LGBT community, we are choosing to refrain from using the word 'maricón' in our song lyrics during our upcoming U.S. tour. This word was used by Esteban's assailants in this pointless attack, and therefore, has no place in our set.We celebrate everyone's freedom of expression, equality and the freedom to love whomever they choose … We plan to speak out about all forms of prejudice at our upcoming concerts, as well as, conduct a media tour in the United States and Latin America to share our sentiments."
So that's a little background on Molotov. Their album Dance And Dense Denso is the next addition to the Highway 101 playlist I know am cheating a bit here, using a group from Mexico City, but with some justification. Their song "Frijolero" is what caught my attention as a music listener. And even though the song talks about border issues in Texas, those same isuues occur in Tijuana. The issues of race, and politics, and history, and economics, and culture all seem to come together at the border. "Frijolero" is Spanish for Beaner and the song is a conversation between a young Mexican and a Border Patrol agent. Musically it blends rap over elements of norteno music (the ranchero music popular in the border regions). The lyrics are fairly harsh, certainly NSFW. Here they are with translations, you have been warned:
FIRST RAP:“MEXICAN POINT OF VIEW” – (Spoken in Gringo Accent)
Yo ya estoy hasta la madre de que me pongan sombrero
Escucha entonces cuando digo no me llames frijolero
Y aunque exista algun respeto y no metamos las narices
Nunca inflamos la moneda haciendo guerra a otros paises
Te pagamos con petroleo e intereses nuestra deuda
Mientras tanto no sabemos quien se queda con la feria
Aunque nos hagan la fama de que somos vendedores
De la droga que sembramos ustedes son consumidoresTRANSLATION:
I’m sick and tired of them putting this hat on me
Listen now when I tell you – don’t call me “frijolero” (beaner)
And though there’s some respect and we don’t interfere
We never inflate currency making war on other countries
We pay you our debt with oil and interests
But we don’t know who winds up with the change
Although we are famous for being the sellers
of the drugs we grow , you all are the consumersSECOND RAP (IN ENGLISH)“GRINGO POINT OF VIEW (spoken in “Frijolero” video by a U.S. border patrol agent):
Don’t call me gringo, you fuckin beaner
Stay on your side of the goddamn river
Don’t call me gringo you beanerTHIRD RAP:“MEXICAN POINT OF VIEW” RESPONSE (Spoken in Gringo Accent):
No me digas beaner, Mr. Puñetero
Te sacare un susto por racista y culero
No me llames frijolero , pinche gringo puñeteroTRANSLATION:
Don’t call me beaner, Mr. Masturbator
I’ll give you a scare for being a racist and “culero”(“coward” -derived from term for anus)
Don’t call me “frijolero”, cunt gringo masturbatorFOURTH RAP (IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH):
Now I wish I had a dime for every single time
I’ve gotten stared down for being in the wrong side of town
And a rich man I’d be if I had that kind of chips
Lately I wanna smack the mouths of these racists
Podras imaginarte desde afuera,
Ser un mexicano cruzando la frontera.
Pensando en tu familia mientras que pasas,
Dejando todo lo que tu conoces atrás.
Si tuvieras tu que esquivar las balas?
De unos cuantos gringos rancheros?
Les seguiras deciendo (sic) good for nothing wetback?
Si tuvieras tu que empezar de cero?
Now why don’t you look down to
Where your feet is planted
That U.S. soil that makes you take shit for granted
If not for Santa Ana, just to let you know
That where your feed are planted would be Mexico
Correcto!TRANSLATION (English sections included to retain continuity):Now I wish I had a dime for every single timeI’ve gotten stared down for being in the wrong side of townAnd a rich man I’d be if I had that kind of chipsLately I wanna smack the mouths of these racistsCan you imagine yourselfAs a Mexican crossing the borderThinking of your family while you crossLeaving all you know behindWhat if you had to dodge bulletsOf some gringo ranchersWould you keep saying “good for nothing wetback?”If you had to start from scratch?Now why don’t you look down toWhere your feet is plantedThat U.S. soil that makes you take shit for grantedIf not for Santa Ana, just to let you knowThat where your feed are planted would be MexicoCorrecto!
The video won a few few awards for its animation. And, interestingly, MTV decided to bleep out the Spanish curse words yet left the English ones intact. Go figure.
As you can see, this is highly charged song and it is absolutely an extended middle finger at American foreign policies as well as the racist attitudes that exist on both sides if the border. I don't mean by sharing this song to launch into a political debate. Much like "Anarchy In The UK" by the Sex Pistols, the rage and the music attract me even though I don't necessarily agree with everything the song says. I do agree with the songs point of view that a lot (not all) of the concern over Mexican immigration is racist. The border situation is a complex subject, though. There are many non racial aspects to address and the whole subject can be better discussed in detail in a more appropriate forum. This is a music blog, mostly. Now back to the music. But first, your download links:
Dance And Dense Denso
Leaving the anger of Molotov behind, we move forward to a Tijuana group that isn't really a group. Nortec Collective really are a collective of individual mix artists from the Tijuana area that have grouped themselves together to share resources rather than to collaborate artistically, if that makes sense. They do share a certain commonality to their styles however. Their sound is described as a blend of electronica music with elements of Norteno and Tombora Music. I have one of their albums, Nortec Collective Presents Bostich+Fussible: Tijuana Sound Machine, and it is the next addition to our Highway 101 playlist. This video of the title track should give you an idea of their sound.
I also have several individual tracks from other albums that have made their way into my collection. These are the next tracks on the playlist and they are (click the title for download link):
While researching this post, I found a pretty cool YouTube video from Mexican TV that features a live performance by Bostitch & Fussible of Nortec Collective. I really enjoyed it and hope you do too, the music start at about the one minute mark after the introduction in Spanish.
Here is a link for the album featured, visit our gift shop (link at the bottom of the page) for more downloadable goodness.
The last artist I will be mentioning in this section is probably my favorite of the three and the one I am able to find the least info on.Their artist bio from 8Tracks says:
faca is an electro, surf, pop, big beat, a go-go, lo-fi and electroclash band from Barijuana (Bariloche), Argentina and Tijuana, Mexico. The band members are Facundo Delgado and Valeria Leyva, they claim to make fun-playful and innocent commercial surf for all the continent. They met online and they produce their music and change their material via msn.
I like their sound a lot and frankly, find it hard to put into words. This excerpt from the blog MotelDeMocha says it well:
These are some things that come to my mind while listening to Faca: loopful electrosurf /*/ beach movies, a pair of fashion friendly sunglasses, an ad for Coca Cola starring the Munsters, Speedy Gonzales on magnetized loops, a wilded-up (how I love making up words) Ennio Morricone on cheap speed and PeeWee Herman in that biker bar among others.
They have a fun, if slightly noir, lo-fi surf sound that makes me want to jump around like an idiot. That's a good thing. It amazes me that an online collaboration could produce this kind of edgy energy. Brilliant!
I have just handful of Faca's songs in my collection, but they had to be included in our Tijuana visit. They are, with download links where possible:
Here is my usual video and download link combo:
Border Curios Part 1
to "South of the Border" is
|Classic Curio Shop|
A curios shop is a fixture of the Tijuana tourist district. Basically a souvenir shop, curio shops carry everything from acoustic guitars to zebra striped paper mache animal figures, from ponchos, blankets, and sombreros to day of the dead masks and taxidermied frogs arranged as mariachi bands. You never know what you will find and that is part of the fun.
My collection of curios I offer you today as added to the set list are a random assortment of songs about Mexico, Tijuana, Baja and the border that didn't fit in neatly with my other posts. I tried to arrange them into a rough narrative of a Tijuana visit gone wrong, while maintaining as listenable flow as i could since the set cross a fair number of musical genres. Bartering is a traditional custom in a curios shop, so take what interests you and leave the rest. As often as possible I will offer you an amazon download link go ahead and download a track if catches your fancy. Just click on the song title to connect to the Amazon store mp3 purchase link.
To start our set we have a mini-set from a bunch of singing cowboys and cowgirls. The first of these is one of my favorite old time singing cowboys, Gene Autry. He sang many songs about Mexico and he will both start and end the curios set.
- Trail To Mexico The Gene Autry Show-The Complete 1950's Television Recordings Gene Autry 1:05
The album is not available in mp3 from Amazon, but the Cd box set is available HERE.
- Across The Border Western Wall: The Tucson Sessions Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris 6:19
- Gringo Honeymoon No. 2 Live Dinner Robert Earl Keen, Jr. 5:04
This is a different live version of Gringo Honeymoon but a good one...
- South Of The Border Under Western Skies Marty Robbins 2:15
The song "South Of The Border" allows us to turn a corner as I also have an easy listening version of the song from Werner Muller and his Orchestra. After that, Coplands El Salon Mexico seemed to fit.
- South Of The Border Stereo Music Parade In Phase4 Werner Müller & his Orchestra 2:29
from a di
fferent release of the song by the same artist.And the video is from a re release compilation.
- El Salón México Copland: Billy The Kid, Organ Symphony, Etc, Leonard Slatkin: BBC Symphony Orchestra 12:03
The Copland album is not available on mp3. However the CD is available for purchase HERE. No video was available that I could find of this particular performance. I was however able to find a nice performance by the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra.
After that beautiful piece I didn't know where to go so I decided to turn on the Mexican Radio. I have two versions: the original Wall of Voodoo hit and a rewrite by El Vez, the Mexican Elvis.
- Mexican Radio Call of the West Wall of Voodoo 4:11
Here is a vintage clip of Wall of Voodoo performing the song in the 80's.
- Mexican Radio Graciasland El Vez 4:12
A little more about El Vez:
As promised, we get a little more Gene Autry as the fiesta begins.
- Under Fiesta Stars The Gene Autry Show-The Complete 1950's Television Recordings Gene Autry 1:57
- Under Fiesta Stars 2 The Gene Autry Show-The Complete 1950's Television Recordings Gene Autry 1:36
The album is not available in mp3 from Amazon, but the Cd box set is available HERE.The party continues, strangely, with an Irish twist as the Pogues take the stage.
- Fiesta If I Should Fall From Grace With God The Pogues 4:13
When you are in a border town, sometimes the characters at the party might be a little shady.
- Banditos Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy Refreshments 4:17
- I Felt Like A Gringo The Stone - San Francisco, CA 12-1-84 Minutemen 3:42
As far as I know this show is not an official release. You can download it HERE. And this clip is from a show one year later at the same venue.
- Tijuana Must Fall [Catholic Discipline "Babylon Must Fall"] The Recline of Mexican Civilization Manic Hispanic 3:24
The album is not available in mp3 from Amazon, but the C D is available HERE. I am sharing 2 videos for this song. The first is the original Babylon Must Fall by Catholic Discipline. After that is Manic Hispanics reworking of the song.
This trip has gotten a bit hectic. I think it might be a good time to settle down for a while and chill out.
|Restaurants and Curio Shops on the Avenida Revelution in Tijuana, Mexico|
Things were getting pretty intense, Lets try this again with something a little softer.
Our first track comes from a collection I found on archive.org. It is a 500 song collection of creative commons licenced music that was gathered from all over the Internet. It takes over 33 hours to listen to it all! The other nice thing is it is both free and legal. I have enjoyed a lot of the music on the set and today we open with a peppy little surf guitar number. The beaches of Baja California are legendary to surf culture. Rick Volcano is Baja Bound:
After that surf guitar track, our next track comes to us with a connection to surfing's stepchild-skateboarding and other extreme sports. Every summer Vans puts on a tour of skateboarding, BMX, and alternative rock of the more punky variety. There are often 50-100 acts playing short sets throughout the day. I haven't made it to one, but have acquired several of the compilation albums that are released in conjunction with the tour each year. The next track is from Vans Warped Tour 2010, and its a lot softer and more melodic than a lot of the music on the Warped compilations. It is a daydream of Mexico kind of song as will be the next track on the list.
Amazon doesn't offer the track individually but you can download the whole album:
Next up is one of the more popular songs with title Mexico. James Taylor's "Mexico". I have 2 versions in my collection. The original release was a hit from his 1975 Gorilla and the second is from his 1992 Live album. To break them up I have a cover by Jimmy Buffett from his 1994 album Barometer Soup. Click on the title for download links.
- Mexico Gorilla James Taylor 2:59
- Mexico Barometer Soup Jimmy Buffett 4:06
- Mexico Greatest Hits James Taylor 3:26
Here is a 1998 video of James Taylor performing the song. It's a different version than either of the two on my list, but I rather like it.
Jimmy Buffett doing his version in 2010:
Jefferson Airplane take off next with their "Mexico". It is a drugged out tribute to Mexican weed and a call to solidarity to hippies to resist Richard Nixon's assaults on hippies and drugs.
A few years ago, I discovered Slightly Stoopid. They are a California Alt-Reggae band similar to Sublime out of San Diego, CA. There used to be a website that had a lot of Sublime and Sublime-inspired bands shows and tracks for download. I found several Slightly Stoopid shows that feature their song "Mexico". Unfortunately the page is no longer so I cannot offer you links to these tracks.
- Mexico May 24th, 2002 Canes Santa Cruz, CA Slightly Stoopid 5:29
- Mexico November 4th, 2002 Fox Theater, Boulder CO Slightly Stoopid 5:44
- Mexico April 24, 2003 Fox Theater, Boulder, CO Slightly Stoopid 5:11
- Mexico April 8th 2004, The Masquerade, Tampa FL Slightly Stoopid 7:00
The last track featured in this set were also offered as single tracks on that same Sublime site. Its more of that California, alterna-reggae-surf sound. Pretty tasty jam actually. Again, I have no download link. I did however find a video.
- Baja 880 South 2:59
Border Curios Part 3
Our next set begins with "Mexico", another track from the Refreshments, who showed up in Highway 101 Border Curios Part 1 with their sing "Banditos". I really enjoy the opening of the song, it has a nice Latin flavor to kick off this weeks music. The video, like on "Banditos" is an Anime mash-up-not to bad either. As in the rest of the curio shop, click on the song title for a download link on any track discussed throughout this post.
- Mexico Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy Refreshments 4:00
"A Border Tragedy" is by another artist featured in Highway 101 Border Curios Pt1. Interestingly, I see the same song listed all over the internet as :A Border Tale" but could not find an explanation for the two different titles. I would love to hear the story if anyone knows anything about it. I really like Robert Earl Keen and this is another great song from him.
- A Border Tragedy What I Really Mean Robert Earl Keen 4:10
Next we have 2 different versions of the same song. the song is a Burt Bacharach composition called "Mexican Divorce". Though I did not really talk about in my introduction to Tijuana, quicky divorces were a big draw, again Americans taking advantage of lax Mexican laws and enforcement. The first is A 1962 recording by The Drifters followed by Ry Cooder's version from 1974.
- Mexican Divorce The Look Of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection The Drifters 2:34
After a Drifters song, it doesn't seem wrong at all to spin a Coaster track. Luckily, their first hit was a 1956 R and B recording, "Down In Mexico"
- Down In Mexico Greatest Hits The Coasters 3:19
The next song is a quick little parody off the Tijuana Brass sound. Not sure why I have this in my collection, but this post explains a little about Nip Nelson and offers the album for download that this was taken from.
- Tijuana Brass Nip Nelson Nip Nelson 0:55
After that strange interlude, I offer a song that takes me back to my childhood. My mom had a large pile of Kingston Trios I used to love to listen to when I was growing up. For some reason this song with it now racist sounding caricatures of the Mexican police made me laugh as kid. I still love the harmonies of the Kingston Trio, even if they can be pretty corny musically.
- Tijuana Jail The Folk Years Kingston Trio 2:51
The folk sounds of the Kingston Trio provide me with the musical bridge I needed to get to the next number. Bluegrass music doesn't really have a lot of Mexican sounds to it. Although there are several songs about outlaws fleeing to Mexico. Sam Bush gives us some Mexican flavor though, with "Mexican Stomp".
- Mexican Stomp Bluegrass Mandolin Extravaganza Sam Bush 3:04
After that bluegrass break there wasn't any good way to round out the theme without being at least a little muscally jarring. I went with Joe "King" Carrasco with his his cover of the Doug Sahm classic, "Adios Mexico". It is another type of Mexican stomp as we wind down our list by saying goodbye.
- Adios Mexico Keep Your Soul: A Tribute To Doug Sahm Joe "King" Carrasco 2:44
We close our visit to our virtual musical curio shop the way we began, with the singing cowboy Mr. Gene Autry bidding farewell in "Goodbye To Old Mexico".
- Goodbye To Old Mexico The Gene Autry Show-The Complete 1950's Television Recordings Gene Autry 1:00
Again no link to the track but the box set the track was taken from is available HERE.
|Tijuana Border Traffic|
Thanks for joining me as I explored the intersection of my music library and Tijuana Mexico.
To read more Old Highway Notes, choose an offramp and click on the highway sign: