Music is the Answer
Los Lobos put out a compilation album called Just Another Band from East L.A. The title refers to the largely Latino section of the city they call home. It’s also a reference to other Latino rock bands that came before them, but never gained the national spotlight they did. Thee Midnighters had regional success with a version of “Land of 1000 Dances” and were one of the first bands to celebrate Chicano culture with songs like “Whittier Boulevard”, “Chicano Power” and the “Ballad of Cesar Chavez”. Thee Midnighters put out some well received singles with lead vocalist Little Ray and later Little Willie G. When Thee Midnighters ran their course, the two former lead singers decided to collaborate in a new group with a more soulful sound called God’s Children.
The core of God’s Children were Little Ray, Little Willie G and Lydia Amescua (Fawn and Stacy Rymal were harmony vocalists with the group). The idea behind the band was to be a bi-cultural, mixed gender rock band with the goal of being a Latino 5th Dimension or a Three Dog Night with female singers. That vision never really gelled. The band were a popular live act in LA and they released a two singles on the Uni label. The song “Hey, Does Somebody Care” was the theme to a short lived TV show called Matt Lincoln.
Music is the Answer isn’t a “lost album.” God’s Children never got to the point of working on an album. This release collects the sessions that produced their two singles (including instrumental versions of “Music is the Answer” and “If You Ever Go Away”). The first eight tracks were recorded with their backing band, the East L.A. Band. Some of these tracks are rather raw. The organ on “It Don’t Make No Difference” is overpowers the mix. The remaining six tracks feature session musicians from the famed Wrecking Crew. The sound quality is greatly improved, but the spirit isn’t necessarily there. The songs reflect the optimism of the late ’60s. “Music is the Answer” was the band’s mission statement. At the time it was written, people did think that pop songs could change the world. “Hey, Does Anybody Care” is a compassionate plea for the downtrodden. The love song, “Brown Baby” is a mellow, Latino statement of pride. Lines like, “you’re brown and your beautiful” and “good things come in brown packages too” in their own way, are as powerful as James Brown’s “Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud”.
God’s Children dissolved as they were pulled in different directions. The version of “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” recorded with the Wrecking Crew is pleasant, but it doesn’t sit well beside the socially conscious tunes the band had been doing. In the end, God’s Children fell apart and became a footnote in rock history. With Music is the Answer, that bit of history is fleshed out and given a chance to shine.