¡Ay Califas!

¡Ay Califas!

Raza Rock of the ’70s and ’80s

Zyanya/Rhino

The influence of Los Angeles and San Francisco on America’s culture is undeniable, as undeniable as the influence of the Hispanic community on the cities. ¡Ay Califas! collects several tracks (mostly from the ’70s, despite the title) of music from bands featuring Chicano and other North/Latin American members. It’s extremely interesting to hear the development of this music, from Santana’s early ’70s “Oye Como Va” to the Plugz’ hardcore-inflected “La Bamba.”

The history of the musical movement is chronicled by Rubén Guevara, a true insider and participant in the scene, who also provides liner notes for each song. The information comes in handy, and it highlights some interesting key differences between the music of San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The aforementioned Santana and Plugz tracks seem almost obligatory, as is War’s “Lowrider.” The inclusion of Cheech and Chong’s “Born In East L.A.” could be debated about for years, but I feel is nicely balanced by including an early Los Lobos track. But the album’s strengths come from its representative selection of other, lesser-known bands like Sapo, Yaqui and Con Safos. Thoroughly educational. Rhino Records, 10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025; http://www.rhino.com

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