Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Spanish Grease”: El Chicano Covers Willie Bobo

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.

(image courtesy of Discogs)


Kapp – an indie label started in 1954 by David Kapp, brother of American Decca label founder, Jack Kapphad 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 Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Venezuela, Mexico, and beyond (including a tasteless and inappropriate cover when released in South Africa).

Their second album, Revolución, includes the track “Spanish Grease” — an opportunity for Bobby Espinosa to give his organ a workout:

Spanish Grease

El Chicano (1971)

LP Musician & Production Credits

John DeLuna – Drums & Percussion
Andre Baéza – Congas, Percussion & Vocals
Ersi Arvizu– Percussion & Vocals
Freddie Sanchez – Bass & Vocals
Little Mickey Lespron – Guitar
Bobby Espinosa – Organ
Engineer – Armin Steiner
Producer – Tom Catalano
Co-producer – Fred De Mann
Mixed By – John Stokoviac
Mastered By – Darrell Johnson


“Spanish Grease” is a cover of Willie Bobo‘s classic title track — co-written with coronetist/arranger, Melvin Lastie, and recorded at Van Gelder Studios in 1965 — for a ‘Breakout Album‘ that reached #138 on Billboard‘s Pop charts for the week ending April 2, 1966 (not to mention the #12 spot on Record World‘s Jazz Album chart in their March 19, 1966 issue).


“Brown bag” cover for Revolución in 1971 when released in Peru, still in the throes of a military takeover that had taken place three years prior by a group of army officers under the leadership of General Juan Velasco Alvarado.




LINK to Latin Rock on Zero to 180

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