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El Chicano


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East L.A

An East L.A Mexican-American band who started out on the circuit as the V.I.P.’s in the late 60s, El Chicano signed to Kapp Records and had a Billboard top 40 instrumental hit in 1970 with a Latin Rock reworking of Gerald Wilson’s Viva Tirado. While they’ve had numerous lineup changes through the decades, the initial band members in their early 70’s heyday included the late Bobby Espinosa (keyboards/vocals), Mickey Lespron (guitar/vocals), Freddie Sanchez (bass/vocals), and Andre Baeza and John De Luna (percussion). After the Viva Tirado LP, El Chicano went on to record several more albums for MCA, including 1971’s Revolucion, 1972’s Celebration, 1973’s El Chicano, 1974’s Cinco, 1975’s The Best Of Everything, and 1976’s Pyramid of Love & Friends. They remained active releasing indie titles and performing on the oldies concert circuit until the death of founding member Bobby Espinosa in 2010.

Along the way, El Chicano had many personnel changes; members who didn’t join until the ’70s included Ersi Arvizu (lead vocals), Hector “Rudy” Regalado (timbales, vocals), Max Garduno (congas), Danny Lamonte (drums), Brian Magness (bass), Joe Perreira (bass), Jerry Salas (lead vocals, guitar), Rudy Salas (guitar), and Steve Salas (lead vocals), among others. (The Salas brothers went on to join another East L.A. band, Tierra, which was an El Chicano spinoff and is best-known for its hit 1980 cover of The Intruders’ Philadelphia soul ballad “Together”). After creating a buzz in East L.A. in the late ’60s, El Chicano signed with MCA in 1970 and recorded its debut album, Viva Tirado.


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  • DiezynueveDelta

    Some good ol' Chicano Soul to get the day going.

    29 Jan 2013 Reply
  • AndreMMJesus

    Just found an old old vinyl in my house and listened for the first time at youtube. "Celebration" the name of the song. I'm amazed

    24 Jul 2012 Reply
  • javiikiller

    I'm sure, I was born at the wrong time. El Chicano es really great.

    15 Feb 2012 Reply
  • realcyndre

    under-rated :(

    30 Mar 2011 Reply
  • epi_gee

    looks like he died long before two days ago, a local radio station was playing a dedication to him all day. i figured it had just happened. great discovery none the less. -E

    16 Mar 2010 Reply
  • epi_gee

    learned of Bobby Espinoza two days ago...just after his death. rest In peace. Discovered a cd of thiers in my collection today. Never even knew i had it. Giving it a spin now. -E

    16 Mar 2010 Reply
  • BuddyDawg1

    I love it when Chong asks Cheech what kind of music his band plays and Cheech says "you know, a little bit of everything...from Santana to El Chicano!"

    11 Mar 2010 Reply

    Bobby Espinosa R.I.P, legendary organ riffs.....missed.....

    3 Mar 2010 Reply
  • Tecpaocelotl

    Great band. Too bad Bobby Espinosa died yesterday. RIP.

    2 Mar 2010 Reply
  • lametal-80s

    I feel healing in El Chicano.

    27 Feb 2010 Reply
  • Funky_Boo

    Such an underated band..! Their sound is so great!!! l<3l

    24 Nov 2009 Reply
  • semdeboche

    eleanor rigby version is awesome

    14 Jun 2009 Reply
  • 1eiht7

    Their early style was absolutely awesome on top of having a completely unique sound.

    2 Jun 2009 Reply
  • JungleGymJunkie

    I love this.

    2 Feb 2009 Reply

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