East Side Story, Vol 9
The last few years have been frustrating for those of us on the Eastside. I’ve been on many a Los Angeles blog explaining, defending and educating folks on why certain parts of the city shouldn’t be called the Eastside. Despite testimonials, historical references and other persuasive truths, there are many who choose to keep using the term Eastside inappropriately. Putting aside the geographical debate, it’s important for many to realize the cultural connection many Mexicans and Chicanos have to the term Eastside.
For those of us who have grown up in these neighborhoods, “Eastside” is a more than just a place, it’s been a cultural signifier. It represents the communities and the cultures of folks who have lived in Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, City Terrace and the great Easterly Beyond. The term Eastside has been used to describe many sorts of cultural innovations emanating from the people east of the river. One of my favorites is a series of albums from the 70s called East Side Story.
From the backside of the album cover:
The EAST SIDE STORY volumes are dedicated to the Low Riders and to those who appreciate the “soul type” oldies.
Never before has there been a collection of oldies that was created especially for the Low Rider.
This creation is the culmination of years of exposure and dedication to the “soul type” oldies, and the results speak for themselves.
The EAST SIDE STORY volumes are destined to be collectors items that will live on forever, because the very nature of the songs goes to the essence of the way of life of the Low Rider.
The immediate success of the EAST SIDE STORY volumes bears this out only too well.
As far as I know, there were twelve volumes released, with classic favorites like:
Smile Now Cry Later-Sunny
Yes I’m Ready-Barbara Mason
Baby I’m For Real-The Originals
Hey There Lonely Girl-Eddie Holman
Me & You-Brenton Wood
These “soul oldies” were popularized by radio personalities like Art Laboe and Huggy Boy and can probably still be heard emanating from lowriders in East LA to Norwalk to Rialto. The albums are sadly out of print but have been re-released in a CD boxset (warning, the tracks on the CDs are not exactly the same as the original releases.)
For more info on this popular Eastside cultural export, check out Land of a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock n’ Roll from Southern California by David Reyes and Tom Waldman and The Old Barrio Guide to Lowrider Music by Ruben Molina.
Rhino Records also has an excellent collection of Chicano oldies called Brown Eyed Soul, check it out, ese!
Morning bonus, some tunes to listen to while you’re reading: