Say It Ain't So, Joe!

Joe Bataan performs in Orange County for possibly the last time

By Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor
Published on LatinoLA: June 1, 2010

Say It Ain't So, Joe!

OK‘«™hope the title didn't throw you off, as I was as surprised as a lot of Chicano music fans de Aztlan to hear the rumor that Mr. Joe Bataan, the "King of Latin Soul" for over 40 years, was quite possibly stepping down from performing, and retiring to private life.

Known for such cruising classics as " Ordinary guy", "My cloud", "Under the street lamp", "Chicana lady", "I wish you love", and many, many others, I've partied, danced, kissed, and loved to Joe Bataan music most of my adult life‘«™and I've also seen him in concert probably every other year for many, many years when he's come out to the West Coast , so I could say I was affected by the news‘«™

So while I was wondering what was going to happen next, I was happy to hear that my friends at the East L.A. Revue Internet Radio station were sponsoring possibly one of Joe's last west coast appearances before he leaves for a June concert tour in Japan‘«™and if the rumors were true, I just had to go.

Last Sunday at the GALAXY THEATER in Santa Ana , as a guest of Mr. Steven Chavez & Hector Barela, I was able to join over 700 people and help welcome Joe as he came to town and put on a marvelous and electrifying performance as only Joe Bataan can.

Serving as hosts & MC's, East L.A. Revue Radio's "Master of musical pan dulce", veteran Chicano DJ Chico Manqueros, and Mr. Steven Chavez himself introduced a fine show that saw the Galaxy theater filled to capacity on a warm Memorial Day weekend Sunday evening for some fine food, drink, music , and merry making.

Starting off the show, Santa Paula's CANELA Band took the stage and gave up some nice latin soul music that got the dance floor warmed up.

Next, comedian Gilbert Esquivel came on stage and warmed up the audience just a little bit more, joined TV's "repo man", Lou Pizarro, and WAR's Sal Rodriguez.

After some more fine music, courtesy of DJ SABOR, it was time for the King to take the stage.

With an 18 piece musical ensemble that included some of the best in contemporary musicians like guitarists RAY CARRION ( The COMPANY Band, EL CHICANO) and ART GALVAN ( The KOOL KATZ), drummer DANNY SANTILLAN (formerly of TIERRA), vocalists YVONNE NITOLLANO joined by vocalist KELLY "The Kat" GALVAN (The KOOL KATZ) on chorus , and a host of talented others, the cavernous expanse and impressive sound system of the Galaxy Theater gave an almost royal setting as Joe Bataan came on stage to thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

Singing most of his classics songs in soulful fashion, at mid point, Joe smiled and said "OK‘«™it's request time‘«™what would you all like to hear?"..and one of the first responses was an overwhelming "Under the streetlamp!", to which he and the band responded , with most of the audience singing along. (‘«™yeah, me & my Lady too!)

RAMPART Record's HECTOR GONZALEZ was on hand, interviewing people for MTV, and people like cable TV's THEE MR. DURAN, artists like SAL RODRIGUEZ and TEX NAKAMURA (of WAR fame), LIL' WILLIE G (of THEE MIDNITERS), Salesian High's STEVE SEGURA, the San Fernando Valley Marine Corps League Commandant BENNIE NAJAR Jr. , fellow East L.A. Revue Radio DJ's DONA PANCHA, La TRAVIESA, and EL CHINO were all spotted in the crowd having a good time and enjoying the show. I'm sure there were many more "names" in the house, but the dance floor was so crowded, I couldn't get around to circulate much.

The show ended like most of Joe's performances, with a long line of grateful fans taking pictures and getting autographs signed by a smiling Joe Bataan.

I tried to get in close and ask him if the rumor of his retiring was true‘«™but the line & crowd surrounding him with love was so long & large...I thought I'd just wait and see, and not ruin the nice moment.

‘«™let's all hope it's not!

Note: for more info on Joe Bataan and this current concert tour: stevenchavez68@hotmail.com

About Frankie Firme ~ Contributing Editor:
Frankie Firme is the "Al Capone of the microphone & the Hitman of West Coast Chicano Soul"
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