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Friday, October 7, 2011

EASTSIDE LEGENDS - THE VELVETEENS


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)


NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED!!!

Solely for historical, educational & listening pleasure

4 comments:

  1. thanks for linking my you tube Channel . i have been fortunate to speak with Johnnie V. a few times . tells many stories of performances with the Storytellers, Carlos bros, Heart breakers and many other Chicano and R&B acts of his era .. great stories . thanks

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  2. I was fortunate enough to know the drummer of the group my pops also grew up in pomona knew him as veco I knew him as Pastor Dan little did I know that the man playing the piano singing in a back room for me was a Chicano soul pioneer Good man

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  3. Joe Rod's, son..danny Rod, my dad has a brand new golden guitar....rest in peace!

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