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A Rainy Night to Remember in Montebello

Ray Carrion and The Latin All Stars bring "wow" back to Whitier Blvd & the East Side for one great night

By Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: November 20, 2012


A Rainy Night to Remember in Montebello


It was one of those rainy L.A. nights where some people might say, "Screw it…I'm staying home and indoors"…and some other people might say, "Screw it…I'm not gonna be stuck at home on a Saturday night if there's something happening"…

The latter of the two scored BIG TIME if they ventured out to the Paloma Room in Montebello this past Saturday…the former probably ate nachos and watched TV or something.

TV ain't so bad if you have cable… I guess...but the Paloma Room was ROCKIN' live with the hot sounds of Ray Carrion (pictured) and The Latin All Stars, and I was honored to serve as Host, MC, and House DJ for the night for a very lucky and enthusiastic crowd that braved the rain, and danced the celebration of life together in downtown Montebello.

I can't describe to you enough about how good a show it was, with all the assembled talent on stage on this night, and the music credentials they brought with them, such as EL CHICANO, TIERRA, THEE MIDNITERS, AZTECA II , HANKO & THE BOOMERS, PONCHO SANCHEZ BAND, TITO PUENTE BAND, etc…need I say more?

Of course, I was able to spin some back-in-da-day Oldies & classic Rock & Roll that you don't hear at most clubs anymore, and most folks were happy and had that, "Yea! 'Bout time!" kind of attitude as I jammed, know what mean?

Comic Ray Camacho checked in and tickled the funny bones for us all, DJ Sugarbear and his Lady was in the house, and a very special guy named "Steve" had a very special 47th birthday party on this night…and I don't think he'll be able to top this one for awhile.

Ray Carrion of course was magnificent on guitar as usual on this night, as he shared the stage & microphones with the likes of Steve Salas, Hank Castro, Mike Jimenez and Gilberto Torres, and these 5 guys were on their J-O-B up front as they performed flawlessly and emotionally .

I say emotionally because when they hit classic tunes like "Gema", "The Town I Live In", "That's All", and Steve Salas's trademark "Together", you could actually see tears of joy, reminiscence, and pride in both the audience and performers. Of course, Steve's powerful messages of brotherhood and Chicanismo always spark up a crowd in Aztlan.

The 3, 4, and 5-part harmonies were incredible, and you would have sworn these guys rehearsed all week… "Nah, it's just doing something we all love doing…we're all pros…and of course, friends," a smiling Steve Salas told me. Brutha wasn't lying!

"I can't tell you what an honor it is to be sharing the stage with some of these guys again…it's been years," former TIERRA singer Mike Jiminez said as he sang his heart out for the crowd .

And who can forget L.A.'s original 'Prince of funk, footwork, and finesse ', Mr. Hank Castro himself?...this brother was moving & grooving like a 21 year old, both on stage & off, as he seemed to be having just as much fun & good times as the audience, and his golden voice simply melted couples together on the dance floor.

Gilberto Torres played some killer Latin Soul flute, and when he started "scatting" ala Latino, he brought a roar of approval from the crowd . Not just anybody can do that adlib, in the middle of a song, live, and unrehearsed…and sound so good !

The famed L.A. brass duo of "Los Bobby's" AKA Bobby Loya and Bobby Navarrette, were flawless as usual, putting forth some fine solos that drew "ooh's" from the crowd, and Bobby Navarrette also sang his heart out.

The unmistakable "ZZ Top" style beard and nimble fingered bass guitar playing of Tony Banda laid the sound carpet down for us all to boogie on, while Steve Gutierrez on drums, Jose Papo Rodriguez on congas, and Victor Baez on percussion & vocals pounded out the accompanying KILLER chorus of Latin percussion that never lost a beat, and the transition from song to song was about as good as you wanna get!

Tony Hernanez on keyboards added the icing on the cake, as the intoxicating music flowed like a sensual fantasy of molten warm sweet chocolate through our toes, in a smooth & teasing cacophony of perfect sound, soul, and happy feelings on the dance floor, simply oozing the seductive sounds of Ray's Latin All Stars throughout the hot night…..

…..Oooh! Anybody got a cigarette? LOL!

"Man! We gotta do this again!" a smiling Ray Carrion said after the show, as grateful fans and brother performers complimented him on a great night somewhere around 1:30 am….

…and when it happens, YOU DON'T want to miss out again !

About Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is heard daily on World wide Internet radio station www.eastLArevue.com and is a regular contributor to this fine web magazine when he's not out dancing throughout Aztlan
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