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Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Band Members:

Johnny Valenzuela Jr (sax, trumpet)
Danny Valenzuela (drums)
Danny Espinosa (sax)
Poly Rodriguez (guitar)
Freddy Unzetta (piano)
Mary Unzetta (vocals)

It is really hard to put a value on a record when only a handful of copies are known to exist. Such is the case for Mary Lou Zuetta & The Velveteens "Oh Baby" and "Come Back". Collectors of the Eastside Sound, doo wop collectors and soul collectors would be very proud to have this piece in their collection.

The Velveteens were an instrumental band from Pomona, California (see my post under EASTSIDE LEGENDS) lead by Johnny Valenzuela. In 1960 they recorded "Dog Patch Creeper" and "Johnny's Jump" released on the Emmy label (Emmy 1005).

Johnny & The Velveteens began looking for female vocalists for the group and discovered Mary Unzetta with a group of young musicians at the Los Angeles Fairgrounds. They had a rough song which they worked out some chord and lyric changes and came up with "Oh Baby"

The group took the song to Paul Buff who ran Pal Recording Studio in Cucamonga, California where The Velveteens had recorded their first single. "Oh Baby" and "Come Back" were released on Paul Buff's Emmy label (Emmy 1007) in February, 1961 as Mary Lou Zuetta & The Velveteens. Both sides of this record are excellent teen doowop and have the flavor of Rosie & The Originals "Angel Baby"


Solely for historical & educational purposes.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I haven't bought a copy of this one yet but I have skimmed through a pdf file of this book and it looks to be anothe fascinating and informative read.

"Cruisin For Community: Youth Culture And Politics In Los Angeles, 1910-1970" was written by Matthew Allan Ides. Published by ProQuest, UMI Dissertation Publishing on Sptember 11, 2011 and coming in at 430 pages the book does include a section on the musical, cultural & political events in East Los Angeles during the height of the Eastside Sound.

Here is Amazon's review:

"Cruising for Community" examines youth culture in Los Angeles from the Progressive era of the early 1900s to the civil rights, antiwar, and counterculture movements of the 1960s. During this period, youth culture developed as a product of the triangular relationship of the state, the market, and youth subcultures. From early hot rodders to post-industrial punks, youth subcultures provided young people a means to develop local music, dancing, sports, and fashion. Through subcultures, young Angelinos like Jewish socialists and Chicano activists struggled to create a more just and multicultural city. L.A.'s suburban sprawl and corresponding social structures coordinated subcultures, and youth culture was expressed spatially. Cruising---parading without permit---represents young Angelinos' appropriation of the street to forge belonging, friendship and new identities. Whereas many historians have claimed that generations are essential to historical change, this dissertation identifies instances of collaboration as well as resistance across age groups. Local middlemen saw the profitability of youth subcultures and through co-optation placed locally generated products on the national market. Concurrently, adult youth experts lobbied to manage youth culture as a way to ensure social stability and common civic identity. This sometimes resulted in draconian policies such as the closing of cruising strips; at other points, youth experts encouraged collaboration, leading to organizations like adult-sponsored car clubs. The mobilizing power of youth culture was recognized by progressive youth leaders, who supported groups of young Angelinos in challenging the social inequities found within their communities; political demonstrations and school walkouts appropriated the city's structures to critique inequity, creating the means for a shared political identity. While cruising represented a balance between the market, the state, and young people, other alignments alienated youth---often along class, race, ethnic, and gender lines---and denied them autonomy with dramatic consequences, such as the Zoot Suit Riot and Watts Uprising. "Cruising for Community" gives an analysis of local youth culture that accounts for its evolution, attendant subcultures, and role in 20th century American history. As such, the dissertation connects cultural studies of youth with American urban history, critically contributing to investigations of modern youth, youth culture, and politics.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Editor's Note:

In response to comments posted by Robert Zapata and a very enlightening telephone conversation with Mr Zapata I have edited some of the text of this post. Comments & corrections are always welcome as I want to get the story right. Many thanks to Robert Zapata for bringing the truth to light.

For more information please visit Mr Zapata's site found here:

Let me begin by saying that this compact disc, Cannibal & The Headhunters "A New Beginning" in not the Cannibal & The Headhunters that you may know or remember. None of the original four members of the band appear on this release nor did any of them have anything to do with it. It is however, still, Cannibal & The Hearhunters, a reformed band led by Headhunter's drummer Robert Zapata and performing and recording in the memory of Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia who was the leader & charismatic performer of the original band. This is the way Frankie would have wanted it.

The original Cannibal & the Headhunters did not disband in 1967 as authors and critics would have you believe. Richard Lopez and the Jaramillo brothers (members of the original group) were replaced by George Ochoa and Eddie Serrano.  In 1969 Cannibal recruited sixteen year old Robert Zapata (drummer & singer) when Cannibal changed the format from strictly a vocal group to a band structure consisting of musicians and singers. Cannibal had always wanted his own band and now he had one.

Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia never gave up his vocal group background but as he grew older his musical style evolved into more of the rhythm and blues and rock & roll genres. After all, music went through a lot of changes in the late 1960's  and Frankie wanted to leave his mark.

In 1968 Tommy Lozano joined the band for a short time and singer David Castaneda was added to the band.

In 1983, for personal reasons, Frankie stopped performing with the band and turned the it over to Eddie Serrano & Robert Zapata and the group continued to perform under the name Cannibal & The Headhunters. Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia passed away in 1996.

Eddie Serrano died in a motorcycle accident in August 1998 and  Robert Zapata became sole leader and manager of the band.

In the late 1990's there was a renewed interest in the Eastside Sound generated by articles, books and websites (a major inspiration for my website). Yo Yo and Rabbit Jaramillo and Scar Lopez reformed and started performing again as Cannibal & The Headhunters. Now there were two groups out there performing under the same name and whether critics like it or not Robert Zapata and his band members continued in the tradition and memory of the music that Frankie had laid down.

In May of 2000 Joe "Yo Yo" Jaramillo passed away leaving only Rabbit & Scar to carry on. They recruited the multi-talented Greg Esparza to sing lead vocals.

In April 2006 the Robert Zapata led "Cannibal" group released a compact disc called "A New Beginning" He recruited black singers to be the up front vocalists. Cannibal & The Headhunters were a true legendary Eastside band  and although many beieve that any band without at least one of its original members should not use the original name I am of the opinion that in this case that they are wrong.  Robert & his band carry on the memory of Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia and for that they should be commended.

After recording and touring with this band Zapata replaced the black singers with Charlie Munoz as their lead. The band continues to perform as Cannibal & The Headhunters..

Here is the April 3, 2006 release of Cannibal & The Headhunters "A New Beginning" released by the independent Pomegranite label.

Their version of "Land Of 1000 Dances" does lack Frankie's spectacular vocal and charm but the song is a definite Eastside anthem and you will enjoy hearing it. The cover version of "Help Me Rhonda" is totally out of place here but was a rushed addition to the CD. Covers of "Sh-Boom", "I'll Be Around" and the"Buzz Buzz Buzz Medley" are very good and continue Frankie's vocal group influence. There is one track not to be missed. "Fly Away" is a sweet soul stunner and worth the price of purchase. Please seek out this CD and listen for yourself.

The music and memory of Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia should never be forgotten and thanks to Mr Robert Zapata it never will.

Soley for historical and educational purposes.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Hot of the heels of Cannibal & The Headhunters' number 30 national hit single, "Land Of 1000 Dances", Rampart Records released an album with the same title (Rampart RM 3302). The album would make Billboard's Hot 100 in June 1965. The album was recorded at Stereo Masters in Los Angles and was produced by Eddie Davis and Faro Productions.

Track List:

Side A

Land Of 1000 Dances
The Boy From New York City
My Girl
Don't Let Her Go
Out Of Sight

Side B

Devil In Disguise
Strange World
Here Comes Love
Get Your Baby
The Fat Man

The "Land Of 1000 Dances" album is a great mix of funk and soul. The tracks are comprised of cover versions of hit records and covers of songs written by singer/song writers of the Eastside Sound.

The national hit single "Land Of 1000 Dances" is the opening track followed by cover versions of "The Boy From New York City", "My Girl", "Searchin" and "Out Of Sight" and Max Uballez & The Romancers' "Don't Let Her Go"

Side B includes a cover version of "Shotgun" and two songs written by Chick Carlton "Devil In Disguise" and "Strange World" which was previously recorded by The Majestics (Atlantics). The band's second single "Here Comes Love" written by Larry Tamblyn is my favorite track. "Get Your Baby" was written by Wayne Edwards and Randy Thomas of The Mixtures and was previously recorded by The Premiers, The Blendells and Mark & The Escorts. The last track, "The Fat Man" is an original credited to Max Uballez, Billy Cardenas and Frankie Garcia.

The album was reissued by Date Records, a division of Columbia/CBS in 1966.

On their album, Date changed the track list to include their two single releases "La Bamba" and "Zulu King" (Date 1516) and "Land Of A Thosand Dances" and "Love Bird" (Date 1525)

Track List"

Side 1

Land Of A Thousand Dances
Boy From New York City
My Girl
Don't Let Her Go

Side 2

La Bamba
Zulu King
Love Bird
Headhunters' Dance Party

Both the Rampart & Date original vinyl releases are high on collectors want lists. The album is also available on compact disc and some include bonus tracks.


Soley for historical & educational purposes.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


                                 CANNIBAL & THE HEADHUNTERS

Edior's Note:

Thanks to a recent e-mail and telephone conversation with Max Uballez some of the information regarding the genesis of Cannibal & The Headhunters and their early years has been corrected. Max Uballez was the leader of the Eastside band, The Romancer. He co-produced Cannibal & The Headhunters smash hit "Land Of 1000 Dances" with Frankie Garcia.

Additional corrections by record collector Juan Covarrubias

Editor's Note 12/10/12: A special thanks to Cannibal & The Headhunters drummer Robert Zapata for correcting more mis-information in my originally post. Artists such as Mr Zapata want to tell the true story which I am grateful to hear.

Band Members:

Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia
Joe "YoYo" Jaramillo
Bobby "Rabbit" Jaramillo
Richard "Scar" Lopez

Cannibal & The Headhunters were the first Mexican-American group from the East Los Angeles area to have a national hit record. Sunny & The Sunglows from the San Antonio, Texas area had their "Talk To Me" single reach number 11 on the Billboard Charts in the summer of 1963.

 Cannibal & The Headhunters hailed from the Ramona Gardens and Estrada Courts Housing Projects of East Los Angeles and attended Lincoln High School.

Bobby Jaramillo and Richard Lopez started a group called Bobby & The Classics around 1963 and added Bobby's youger brother, Joe. The group was influenced by black vocal (doo wop) groups icluding the black vocal group Zulu & The Warriors who later became The Showcases.

 Frankie Garcia, from Aliso Village near East Los Angeles, whose nickname on the streets was "Little Cannibal" was a doo wop & soul vocalist who worked for a brief time with The Showcases and two other local bands, The Royal Jesters and The Rhythm Playboys.

Frankie wanted to start his own vocal group, Billy Cardenas was impressed with Frankie's vocal talents and brought the Bobby & The Classics group in to be Frankie's backing vocalists.

The band started doing R&B, doo wop and Motown and auditioned for Eddie Davis & Rampart Records. Billy Cardenas who named many of the Eastside groups picked the name Cannibal & The Headhunters and Billy  became their manager.

Cannibal & The Headhunters first record for Rampart was "Land Of 1000 Dances" It was written by Fats Domino and Chris Kenner. Chris Kenner recorded "Land Of A Thousand Dances" in 1962 for the Instant label (Instant 3252). Ronnie & The Pomona Casuals and Thee Midniters had also recorded the song.

At a rehearsal at The Rhythm Room in Fullerton, Frankie forgot the words mid-song and improvised with"Na, Na, Na, Na" which Eddie & the band decided to leave in the song.

Cannibal's former band, The Rhythm Playboys were supposed to provide the backing tracks for the record but a disagrrement between Eddie Davis and Billy Cardenas caused Eddie to bring in The Blendells. The beat was copied from Stevie Wonder's "Fingertips" and a smash hit version of the song was recorded. Wilson Picket would later record the song leaving in Frankie's "Na, Na, Na, Na"

In February 1965 Rampart Records released "Land Of 1000 Dances" and "I'll Show You How To Love Me" (Rampart 642). It reached number 30 on the Billboard Charts in April 1965.

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "Land Of 1000 Dances" Here:

"I'll Show You How To Love Me" is a great doo wop ballad written by Frankie Garcia.

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "I'll Show You How To Love Me" Here:

Cannibal & The Headhunters perform "Land Of 1000 Dances" on Sam Riddle's 9th Street West Television show in 1965.

                               Dutch Picture Sleve

With the success of the record Cannibal & The Headhunters went on tour performing in the Motown Revue Show, Murray The K Show and Dick Clark's Road Show. They made television appearances on 9th Street West and Hullabaloo. Paul McCartney saw the band on the Hullabaloo show and Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager contacted Eddie Davis and Cannibal & The Headhunters joined The Beatles 1965 U.S. tour playing venues such as Shea Stadium and The Hollywood Bowl.

Richard "Scar" Lopez left the band for personal reasons during the Beatles tour and the other three members carried on.

Their next single for Rampart in June 1965 was "Here Comes Love" and "Nau Ninny Nau" (Rampart 644). "Here Comes Love" is another great doo wop ballad written by Larry Tamblyn. "Nau Ninny Nau" is an answer to "Land Of 1000 Dances" and is credited to Max Uballez, Frankie Garcia and Eddie Davis.

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "Here Comes Love" Here:

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "Nau Ninny Nau" Here:

The band's third single for Rampart was "I Need Your Loving" and "Follow The Music" (Rampart 646)  released in September 1965. "I Need Your Loving" is a cover version of the 1962 hit for Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford. "Follow The Music" was written by Frankie Garcia and Max Uballez.

Cannibal & The Headhunters perform "Follow The Music" on Sam Riddles' Hollywood A Go Go televison show in 1965.

The band's fourth and final single for Rampart was "Please Baby Please" and "Out Of Sight" (Rampart 654) released in August 1966. "Please Baby Please" is a great soulful ballad written by Frankie Garcia. "Out Of Sight" is a cover of the James Brown classic.

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "Please Baby Please" Here:

You May Listen To Cannibal & The Headhunters "Out Of Sight" Here:

On the heels of their national hit single Rampart rush released Cannibal & The Headhunters "Land Of 1000 Dances" album in August 1965. (Rampart 3302)

This album will be reviewed in the VINYL CLASSICS section.

Date Records, a division of Columbia/CBS thought they could do better with the band and Eddie Davis always trying to make an extra buck agreed.

In July 1966 Date Records released "Zulu King" and "La Bamba" (Date 1516). "Zulu King was written by Chick Carlton and "La Bamba" is a cover of the tune made famous by Ritchie Valens.

The single failed to draw much attention so Date reissued "Land Of A Thousand Dances" (spelling out the word thousand) with "Love Bird" as the B Side in August 1966 (Date 1525).

"Love Bird" is a superb cover version of the Inez & Charlie Foxx 1963 hit "Mockingbird"

Date reissued the Rampart "Land Of 1000 Dances" Album (Date TEM 3001) in 1966 but that would be their last release for the Date label.

The group did NOT disband in 1967 as critics and authors would have you believe but Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia enlisted new members George Ochoa and Eddie Serrano to replace Richard Lopez & the Jaramillo brothers. George Ochoa had been a member of Mark Guerrero's band, The Men From S.O.U.N.D. and Eddie Serrano had been with Thee Enchantments.

Somewhere between 1967 and 1969, Cannibal & The Headhunters recorded "Dance By The Light" and "Means So Much" which was released on the very obscure Aires (Aries) Records label out of Chicago, Illinois.

In 1969, the band signed with Capitol Records who liked "Means So Much" but released it in January of 1969 with a new A side "Get On Up (Get Up The Courage).

Here is the Capitol/EMI French release of the single with picture sleeve:

 In the early1980's Frankie reemerged with a new group of Headhunters that included singers Eddie Serrano & David Castaneda. This new group only performed briefly and Cannibal decided to stop perforning and turned the group over to Eddie Serrano. Eddie was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in August 1998 and his band continued to perform under the name Cannibal & Headhunters.

In the late 1990's a new interest in the Eastside Sound was generated via articles, books and websites. Some of the original bands got back together and started performing again. Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia passed away in 1996. Yo Yo & Rabbit Jaramillo and Scar Lopez reformed & started performing again. There were now two groups performing under the same name.

In 1997, Lil' Rudy G & The Chizmosos recorded a tribute song to Frankie "Cannibal" Garcia entitled "Cannibals Eulogy" which you can listen to here:

In May of 2000, Joe "Yo Yo Jaramillo passed away leaving Rabbit & Scar to carry on. They recruited singer & multi-taleneted Greg Esparza to move the group forward. Also in 2000 this group recorded the R&B classic Searching For My Baby with Canned Heat found on the compact disc "Boogie 2000"found on the compact disc "Boogie 2000"

Richard "Scar" Lopez passed away in July 2010. Robert "Rabbit" Jaramillo is the sole surviving member of the original band.

There are several good Cannibal & The Headhunters compact discs available but the one I reccomend is "Land Of 1000 Dances - The Complete Rampart Recordings" released in 2005 on the Varsse Sarabande label.


Soley for historical & educational purposes and for listening pleasure.