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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The Doors

The Doors
The Doors
Elektra (74007)
1967
Producer: Paul Rothchild
Engineer: Bruce Botnick
Rating: **** (Recommended)
Released March 1967, reached #1 (ignored in UK)

Debut from this outfit, its blues-based sound pure L.A., a refreshing alternative to the meandering California psychedelic from Frisco.  While it gets a bit silly at times, they always manage to pull out the slack, laying down a string of solid cuts that conclude with the epic “The End.”  While, they had several solid sets, this debut was one of their best.  It serves as a good intro to this band, and it’s essential listening for fans.

— winch

The Doors
Waiting For the Sun
Elektra (74024)
1968
Producer: Paul Rothchild
Engineer: Bruce Botnick
Rating: *** (Noteworthy)
Released August 1968 (September in the UK), reached #1 (#16 in the UK)



While this L.A. outfit had a strong beginning, cracks begin to show with this third set.  Much of the material has a dreary feel to it, perhaps capturing not only the strain of fame on this band, but also the wilting of the flowers from the summer of love.  Like all their 60s albums, this has its moments, but it’s their weakest album with Morrison.

— winch

The Doors
The Soft Parade
Elektra (75005)
1969
Producer: Paul Rothchild
Engineer: Bruce Botnick
Rating: **** (Recommended)

Released August 1969 (September in the UK), reached #6 (ignored in the UK)


Perhaps recognizing that their previous album was a bit depressing, they pick up the pace and fill in the sound for this fourth set, backing the band with big arrangements and calling in plenty of guests.  While this was an improvement over the third album, many felt otherwise.  The Doors had finally found an audience in the U.K. with the third set, but they lost them again with this collection. 

The set gets a bit overblown and silly at times, but the same is true with all their albums.  This doesn’t have the dark menace of the early material, but it sees the band pulling out the slack and charging forward, something they’d continue doing in the 70s.  It’s another worthwhile listen for fans.

— winch