Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thee Midniters-In Thee Midnite Hour!!!!

From 1964-1969, Thee Midniters were on the vanguard in their native East Los Angeles and throughout the Southern California region. There was a time in 1964-65, when Whittier Blvd. slicing through East Los Angeles, prefigured the Sunset Strip--lined with live music venues, record stores and 5 major clothing stores selling mod threads and Beatles boots, which Thee Midniters perfectly encapsulated with their propulsive instrumental "Whittier Blvd."  With their versatility and proficiency, Thee Midniters could go from unhinged proto-punk to solid soul, like the top 40 boss radio of the time, which allowed the 7-member combo to crossover with almost any audience of youth and even win over Casey Kasem.  Stirring up Beatles-like bedlam, they were just as popular with the Anglo audiences in Montebello and at the Rose Bowl as they were in their home turf of unincorporated East L.A.or filling El Monte's American Legion Stadium. They could also be said to be the progenitors of El Chicano (headliners of the upcoming 2016 Chandler Jazz Festival) while paving the paths for later bands ranging from the Zeros through Los Lobos to Chicano Batman. This compilation album is a revved-up lowdown of their tough, taut and hard as concrete early album sides & singles which aligns them with the paint peelin’ contingent of bands then ruling the Pacific Northwest like the Kingsmen, the Wailers and the Sonics. Especially, revelatory are some of their Latin soul instrumentals like the searing "Dragon-Fly" which is both horn and guitar driven and sounds like a perfect convergence of a taunting marching band with the Yardbirds.   Be sure to check out Youtube for some of their later songs like the festive and determined “Chicano Power” and “Walk on By” where they stretch out to display that their tastes were truly catholic as they were informed and inspired as much from traditional Mexican corrido, bolero, rumba and Bronx boogalo as the British Invasion, Southern California surf, James Brown, and Burt Bacharach.  In Thee Midnight Hour!!!!, it’s time to listen to yesterday’s sounds advancing into today.