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Friday, October 14, 2011


Though not often mentioned in literary pieces on the Eastside Sound, the musical career of Chris Montez can not be overlooked when examining the Los Angeles music scene of the early 1960's.

Ezekiel Christopher Montanez was born in Los Angeles, California on January 17, 1943. He grew up in Hawthorne, California and was influenced by his Hispanic culture and the rock & roll sucess of Ritchie Valens. As a youth, he began singing rancheras with his brothers, learned to play guitar and while at Hawthorne High School formed a band and started writing his own songs. He attended Hawthorne High the same time the Beach Boys did and even jammed at Brian Wilson's home.
  Chris Montez would go on to be a teen sensation and many of his records are highly sought after by collectors of the "Teen Sound"
  At the age of 17, Chris recorded his first single as Chris Montez & The Invincibles entitled "She's My Rockin Baby" for the Norton label.

In 1960 Chris would record my favorite track "They Say" backed with "I Lost My Baby" for the Guaranteed label.

You May Listen To Chris Montez "They Say" Here:

You May Listen To Chris Montez "I Lost My Baby" Here:

In 1962, producer Jim Lee help promote Chris by forming a label called Monogram. Chris would have much success for Monogram and I will focus on those records which are the best & most essential.

The first release for Monogram was "All You Had To Do" and "Love Me" (Monogram 500)

You May Listen To Chris Montez "All You Had To Do" Here:

You May Listen To Chris Montez "Love Me" Here:

The second single also released in 1962 was "Let's Dance" and "You're The One" (Monogram 505)

"Let's Dance" would reach Number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts.

You May Listen To "Chris Montez "Let's Dance" Here:

You May Listen To Chris Montez "You're The One" Here:

The next single for Monogram was "Tell Me (It's Not Over)" and "Some Kinda Fun" in 1963 (Monogram 507)

You May Listen To Chris Montez "Tell Me (It's Not Over) " Here:

You May Listen To Chris Montez "Some Kinda Fun" Here:

In 1964 Kathy Young (Of Kathy Young & The Innocents fame "A Thousand Stars") would join the Monogram label and her voice was dubbed on to two of Chris' hits. "You're The One" and "All You Had To Do (Was Tell Me)" (Monogram 517)

You May Listen To Chris & Kathy "You're The One" Here:

You May Listen To Chris & Kathy "All You Had To Do (Was Tell Me)" Here:

The duo would team up again on "It Takes Two" and "Shoot That Curl" (Monogram 520) also released in 1964.

You May Listen To "It Takes Two" Here:

You May Listen To Chris & Kathy "Shoot That Curl" Here:

Chris Montez would tour with many of the "heavy weight" artists of the day such as Clyde McPhatter, The Platters, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and The Beatles. He would enjoy just as much fame in the U.K ans in the U.S.

In 1965 Chris Montez would move to the A&M label and mentored by the great Herb Alpert his music would take a mor middle-of-the road approach and he would again enjoy success. In November 1965 A&M Records would release "Call Me" (A&M 780) which relach Number 22 on the Billboard charts.

You May Listen To Chris Montez "Call Me" Here:

The next big hit for Chris was "The More I See You" released in 1966. (A&M 796). It would rech Number 16 on the Billboard charts.

You May Listen To Chris Montez "The More I See You" Here:

Chris Montez Albums:

The More I See You Album 1966 (A&M)

Time After Time Album (A&M)

                                                              Foolin' Around Album (A&M)

Watch What Happens Album (A&M)

Chris Montez CDs:

"Let's Dance - The Monogram Sides"

This compact disc is essential to any Chris Montez collection & contains the singles from the Monogram label. (Ace Record Label)

"Call Me - The A&M Years"

The essential companion compact disc containing the A&M singles (Eclipse Record label)

Chris continues to perform live and appeared at Mi Hacienda in Pico Rivera in March.

To learn more about Chris Montez please read this article by Mark Guerrero entitled:
"Chris Montez: Pop & Rock Hitmaker of the 60's" Here:


Soley for historical, educational & listening pleasure.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Eastside Legends Tierra will headline a special Halloween costume party at Nick's Taste Of Texas on October 29, 2011. Hosted by Mr Duran, this show looks to be go good it's scary. Don't miss this great night of music & memories and dress up as your favorite Halloween character. Music, dancing and adult beverages. KEEPIN' THE MUSIC ALIVE!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011


Editor's Note:

Thanks to Greg Russo Of Russo-Buff Publishing LLC and Crossfire Productions I have made some corrections to this text especially record release dates.

The Velveteens hailed from Pomona, California and were headed by bandleader Johnny Valenzuela Jr. In junior high he took up trumpet and saxophone but switched to guitar after seeing Richie Valens play at a concert at El Monte Legion Stadium. He formed a band called "The Velveteens" which included members:

Danny Espinoza - Sax
Rod Rodriguez - Guitar
Johnny Valenzuela - Piano
Poly Rodriguez - Bass
Danny Valenzuela - Drums

Their first record was a pair of instrumentals "Dog Patch Creeper" and "Johnny's Jump" which were released on Paul Buff's Emmy label (Emmy 1005) in 1960 recorded at The Pal Studios in Cucamonga, California

You May Listen To The Velveteens "Dog Patch Creeper" Here:

Yo May Listen To The Velveteens "Johnny's Jump" Here:

Even though Poly Rodriguez was the band's original bassist, he played lead guitar on both sides of this single.

At the L.A. County Fairgrounds Johnny Valenzulea discovered a female vocalist, Mary Unzuetta (Mary Lou Zuetta) of San Dimas, California. With Mary Lou as lead vocalist the group recorded "Oh Baby" and "Come Back"on the Emmy label (Emmy 1007) in February 1961. Both sides are teen doo wop in the style of Rosie & The Originals "Angel Baby"

Soon after, two girls from Chino, Terri Bonilla & Lucy Duran were added to the group. They recorded "Bells Of Love" and "You've Brokem My Heart" at Paul Buff's Pal Studios and released it on the Kerwood label (Kerwood 711) in February 1961. On the record Terri Bonilla sings lead & Lucy Duran & Mary Lou Zuetta sing background harmony.

You May Listen To Terri & The Velveteens "Bells Of Love" Here:

You May Listen To Terri & The Velveteens "You've Broken My Heart" Here:

Around the same time Spider Ray Quinones recorded a song with The Velveteens called "Maria" at Pal Studios which exists as an acetate. Spider Ray & The Velveteens also recorded "While We Dance" and "It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)."While We Dance" and "Maria" were released on the Boss label (Boss 102) in February 1961.. It is yet another fine doowop recording by the group.

You May Listen To Johnny Valenzuela & The Velveteens "Maria" Here:

"It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)" remains unreleased as far as I know.

Johnny Valenzuela & Terri Bonilla were married and began performing as a duo around the Pomona-San Dimas area. As Terri & The Velveteens they recorded "I'm Waiting" and "La Flor" at Art Laboe's Original Sound Studios and the record was released with some extra background singers overdubbed on the Arc label (Arc 6534) released in January 1961,

You May Listen To Terri & The Velveteens "I'm Waiting" Here:

You May Listen To Terri & The Velveteens "La Flor" Here:

 Terri Bonilla and Ray "Spider Ray" Quinones (Of Rene & Ray) would record "I Miss You So" and "Your Tender Lips" for the Donna label (Donna 1365) under the name Terri & Johnnie.

But this may not be the case. It is now believed that Johnny Valenzuela did sing the duet with Terri Bonilla and they co-authored the B side and that record was released in May 1962 and would be their last.

You May Listen To Terri & Johnnie "I Miss You So" Here:

You May Listen To Terri & Johnnie "Your Tender Lips" Here:

Lucy Duran & The Velveteens

(Photo courtesy of Anthony Piceno)


Solely for historical, educational & listening pleasure

Monday, October 3, 2011


On Sunday, October 23,2011, Mi Hacienda in Pico Rivera, California plays host to another walk down memory lane with the Eastside Sound. The show features three artists already spotlighted on YFTES as well as the Premiers.
  Chan Romero ("Hippy Hippy Shake"), The Story Tellers ("You Played Me A Fool") and The Heartbreakers ('Cradle Rock") provide what should be a wonderful night of music & memories. Show starts at 2:00 P.M. If you live anywhere near the PR area you won't want to misss this one.

Chan Romero at Mi Hacienda (10/23/11)

The Story Tellers at Mi Hacienda (10/23/11)

The Heartbreakers at Mi Hacienda (10/23/11)

Photos courtesy of Rosalie Luna Hernandez.

Gracias Rosalie!!


Soley for historical, educational & listening pleasure.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


EDITORS NOTE: This text was recently revised thanks to me meeting Benny & Joe.

Brothers, Benny & Joe Rodriguez were born in El Paso, Texas. At ages 6 and 4 respectively their father taught them vocal harmony.

When Benny was 14 and Joe was 12, they moved to East Los Angeles where Benny attended Roosevelt High School. They were discovered by Billy Cardenas (more on Billy later) who was the manager of the group, the Romancers. The Romancers were under contract to producer Bob Keane. At Paul Buff's Pal Studio in Rancho Cucamonga, California they recorded "Cradle Rock" and "Everytime I See You". "Cradle Rock" was a re-make of a song recorded by the Rhythm Heirs on the Yucca label in 1959. The flip side "Everytime I See You" was co-written by Frank Zappa and Ray Collins (of Little Julian Herrera & The Tigers). The record was released on the Donna label (Donna 1381) in 1963.

You May Listen To The Heartbreakers "Cradle Rock" Here:

You May Listen To The Heartbreakers "Everytime I See You" Here:

The Heartbreakers al recorded in 1963, "Leavin' It All Up To You" and "Corrido Marsh" on the Brent label (Brent 7037). "Leavin' It All Up To You" was a remake of the Don & Dewey hit & "Corrida Mash" was a rockin' instrumental. These two songs were produced by Bumps Blackwell of Little Richard fame.

In 1964 the Heartbreakers recorded "Please Answer" and "She Is My Baby" for producer Eddie Davis and the Linda label (Linda 114). "Please Answer " was penned by Benny. "She's My Baby" was penned by Larry Tamblyn. On these two tracks, they were backed by The Mixtures, a mixed-race band from Pomona, California.

You May Listen To The Heartbreakers "Please Answer" Here:

You May Listen To The Heartbreakers "She Is My Baby" Here:

"She Is My Baby" is also available on the highly recommended CD "Frankie Firme Presents 16 Rare & Golden Treasures"  From The Vaults Of Rampart Records at this East LA Revue link:

Both Benny and Joe have college degrees. Benny in Chemistry and Joe in Education

The Heartbreakers are yet another act to be very popular at El Monte Legion Stadium. Today they are still playing local gigs as they will be in Pico Rivera on October 23, 2011 and also at the Legends Of Chicano Soul Show in December 2011 at the Gibson Ampitheater.

Two of the finest gentlemen I have ever met.


Soley for historical, educational and listening pleasure.