Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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“Spanish Grease”: El Chicano Expands into Italy & UK

El Chicano – a Los Angeles band who created what they termed, “the brown sound” – hit the US top 40 in 1970 with the Latin jazz funk instrumental, “Viva Tirado” on the Kapp label.


Kapp – an indie label started in 1954 by David Kapp, brother of American Decca label founder, Jack Kapp – had been sold at the end of 1967 to MCA in “a new surge to be a major record complex.”  El Chicano’s 1970 debut album, Viva Tirado, therefore enjoyed international distribution in Canada, Germany and France.  Their second album, Revolución – which includes the track, “Spanish Grease” – saw the group expand into Italy and the UK … but at Canada and Germany’s expense:

“Spanish Grease”     El Chicano     1971

“Spanish Grease” is a cover of Willie Bobo’s first hit, co-written with trumpeter/arranger, Melvin Lastie.

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