El chicano (1970) viva tirado (LP)

      El chicano     
       v i v a    t i r a d o     
     while el chicano is clearly a bridge between santana (the original group not the guitarist) and war, these chicanos understood that the instrumentations should be an integral part of the song (and not a reason to show off your chops).  they give the guitarist room to stretch his strings, and they sink into a groove and go with it, but they also understand restraint and understatement.  
     Maybe it’s a silly comparison but the album almost seems like a musical version of bullit, with the guitar playing the part of the mustang, teasing us with its presence, kicking it into high gear with the last two cuts.  the guitar’s clearly out of the hendrix tradition on final selection.  this is proceeded by a 25-second version of “light my fire.”  (by the end of the 70’s, everybody knew about economy, but el chicano understood it in the era of excess.)
     After 1970, they’d explore all sorts of soul sounds, but the first album sticks with the instrumentals, just a soul/latin jazz sound with some heavy rock leanings.  it’s all covers and there’s nothing innovative or progressive about it.  But it’s all good.  I can’t help wonder if war would have found their classic groove without it.  it’s definitely worth checkin’ out.

the eight track of course sounds the best (and I like how they added an edited title track to fill the third program), but the vinyl sounds good too, and the song order of the album seems organic and intentional. 
cover art 
     side one:         cantaloupe island (herbie hancock)
quiet village (les baxter)
the look of love (bacharach-David)
eleanor rigby (lennon – mccartney)
side two:
viva tirado (gerald wilson)
sometimes i feel like a motherless child (a. a. smith)
hurt so bad (randazzo-weinstein-harshman)
light my fire (the doors)
coming home baby (tucker-dorough)

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