You Should Have Been There!

Ray Carrion & Thee L.A. Latin All Stars rock the Eastside like the good old days in the Land of 1000 Dances

By Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: November 20, 2013

You Should Have Been There!

?ŪOrale, Mi Gente!

If the man in the moon could talk, he would tell you that he was full & bright just so the stars would shine brighter for last Saturday night in Montebello, California, as RAY CARRION & Thee L.A. LATIN ALL STARS put on one of the finest music & dance shows that I've been to in many years.

Refurbished & upgraded since the Montebello Inn days, more than 300 hundred people crowded into the standing room only, sold out event at Gringo's Cantina as RAY CARRION showcased some of the best current Latin Rock & Soul Artists in the Land of 1000 Dances that easily packed the dance floor all night long.

My homie & master chef Cory Silva was all about feedin' the Gente, as he provided some hot delicious food all night long, including some mouth watering ribeye steaks at some decent prices.

(Didn't sell 'em all tonight, so they gonna be going hot, ready and at special price this Thursday night", Cory laughs. Brutha can cook 'em, too!)

In the audience was just about everybody in the Chicano music family of L.A. including our very own EL EDITOR Abelardo de la Pe??a Jr. & his Lady Linda sitting at Mr. Duran's VIP table along with me & my Lady Josie, DJ Sugarbear & his Lady Marti, singer Pepe Marquez, Rudy & JoAnna Salas, East L.A. Rey Garza & his Lady, Bosco Nava, comedian Gilbert Esquivel, conguero Roy Bernal, guitarist/singer Louie Mendez , DJ Chico Manqueros, Chicano Photographer of the Stars David Aguilar, "Attorney for the Gente" Ruben Salazar, Christina Mirasol, ORIGINAL SACRIFICE Band members Monibee Henley and drummer Henry Garcia, and music promoter Vincent Diaz, along with so many others. (forgive if I missed your name‘«™seems like everybody was there!)

Hosted by Cable/Internet TV's Three Mr. Duran and his lovely co-host Veronica Montoya, bandleader and master guitarist RAY CARRION called out some "big guns" to hit the stage with him on this warm Califas night of music & merrymaking‘«™excitement in the air so thick you could roll it in a tortilla and take a big delicious bite!

With a backup band that included Grammy award winning percussionist Victor Orlando, Keyboardist Tony Hernandez, TIERRA's Jeff Lewis playing trumpet, Danny Santillan at drums, Joey Navarro jumping in at keyboards, Dale Villavicencio at timbales & backup vocals, Tony Banda on bass guitar, Paris Escobedo at timbales, Titus Smith jumping in at timbales & vocals, saxophonist extraordinaire Johnny Burrolla, Tex Nakamura of WAR fame at harmonica and backup vocals, and with Ray Carrion at guitar & vocals, the stage was set for a multitude of singers that truly lit the night up all night long.

Nationally acclaimed comedian Rudy Moreno opened the night with some great stand up comedy, then singer Hank Castro & the band started off the music with a great rendition of "Me & Baby Brother" that got things started & jumping, while Tex Nakamura added his trademark harmonica and vocals.

Singer Mike Jimenez of TIERRA fame came up and joined Hank Castro
(MIDNITERS, COLD DUCK, HANKO & The BOOMERS fame) for some favorite East L.A. flavored Oldies & Old School dance favorites, and the crowd roared it's approval. These guys laid down some fine harmony for TIERRA's Steve Salas, as he came up and gave it his all for the crowd, as he usually does..

One of the highlights of the night was when Steve & the band called up brother Rudy Salas of TIERRA, who joined Steve, Hank, & Mike for a heart-rendering version of the Spanish language classic "Gema", which was on TIERRA's debut album over 35 years ago, and something I haven't heard the Brothers Salas perform on stage in over 30 years‘«™and it earned them one of the many standing ovations of the night.

After a brief break & some more comedy from Rudy Moreno, the band came back blasting away with singer Irma "Cui Cui" Rangel at the mic, who simply "wowed" the crowd into a state of excitement with her singing & dancing routine, giving it her trademark hot Latina attitude doing "I'm a Good Woman", then a beautiful duet with Mike Jimenez on "Sabor a Mi", then topping off with a harmonica duet with Tex Nakamura that ended with her going solo as Tex stood back and let Cui Cui take it for a ride, and Irma rode the moment like the East L.A. diva queen she's famous for, ending it with a hoochie- mama "shake & bake" as she earned a loud and sustained standing ovation from the appreciative crowd.

Next, Ray called up the KOOL KATZ, Art & Kelly Galvan, all the way from San Jose and they kicked it up another notch with a hot fiery version of Tower of Power's "What is Hip" , with Johnny Burrola, Jeff Lewis, and Tex Nakamura doing the honors of adding some hot brass sounds that really showcased singer Kelly Galvan's riveting singing talent & Art Galvan's hot guitar solo capabilities.

The night went turbo as SLY, SLICK & WICKED's Sonny Daye came up and joined Steve Salas, Hank Castro, and Mike Jimenez for one of the finest Oldies medley you ever want to hear, topping it off with "It's a Thin Line Between Love and Hate". Something in the air just seems to happen, and flashes seem start going off every time Sonny takes the stage on the East Side‘«™as if he brings out that "hometown Soul Oldies" feeling in us all, and shows how well loved he is on the East side of the L.A. river in the Land of 1000 Dances.

This of course prompted Hank Castro to bust out with the Midniter's classic "The Town I Live in", then Mike Jimenez chimed in with a classic, and then Steve Salas jumped in and spread the love with another Oldie‘«™.another standing ovation rocked the place as Ray Carrion lead the band into musical perfection and the ladies in the audience screamed their approval !

Percussionists Paris Escovedo and Titus Smith then hit the stage to add some classy Latin beat as SAPO's Richard Bean was warmly welcomed back to L.A. Richard performed SAPO's memorable classic " I Can't Make it" and then crooned his way into everybody's heart with his trademark immortal MALO classics "Nena" and "Suavecito"‘«™more flashes‘«™ more standing ovations.

Of course, the night wouldn't have been complete without a finale, so EVERYBODY came up on stage for the closing number as Steve Salas performed his TIERRA trademark song "Together", that had everybody singing along just after last call‘«™and the last standing ovation of the night.

‘«™and the night of wonderful music ended on a warm note of love‘«™and the Fearsome Foursome ended the night at Ordonez Restaurant on Garfield Avenue in Montebello for the 2 am Menudo special with a large part of the crowd at Gringo's joining us!

Photo by Margie Ramirez on Facebook

About Frankie Firme, Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the Al Capone of the microphone, the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul, and the Voice of Aztlan heard on internet radio station www.eastLArevue.com
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