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Eastside record label still spinning out the music PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hector Becerra, Los Angeles Times   
Saturday, 19 January 2013 03:53

Rampart Records’ founder had hoped it would become a ‘Mexican American Motown.’ Its current head just hopes it can keep on going.


January 08, 2013| By Hector Becerra, Los Angeles Times

Hector Gonzalez earlier had a career as a TV sound-man, receiving an Emmy award as part of a team covering the 1984 Olympics. He took a buyout from CBS after the Rampart Records founder died and left the business to him in 1994.

Hector Gonzalez earlier had a career as a TV sound-man, receiving an Emmy… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

Hector Gonzalez straps a five-string bass guitar over his belly inside a music studio on a dreary stretch of Monterey Park. He plays as a smooth, prerecorded tenor joins a funky accordion through his headphones.

Trying to bite a bullet, or sometimes count to 10,

For the sake of argument, let’s just pretend,

We both agree to disagree.

Gonzalez is helping a silky-voiced old band-mate record a nostalgic-sounding soul album. But in a larger sense, the 59-year-old music producer is trying to keep alive a legacy he inherited 18 years ago.

Gonzalez is the head of Rampart Records, which earned a measure of fame in the 1960s as the originator of the “West Coast East-side Sound” — and whose founder dreamed of its becoming a Mexican American Motown.

That was Eddie Davis, who produced bands from Boyle Heights, East L.A. and the San Gabriel Valley with names like the Blendells, the Romancers, the Premiers, and Cannibal and the Headhunters. The last group toured with the Beatles in 1965 after scoring a big hit with “Land of a Thousand Dances.”

Rampart’s stable of musicians consisted of kids from the barrios, often discouraged by their parents from speaking Spanish because they were afraid they would be discriminated against. Their role models were often black artists. One weekend they might share the same stage at the El Monte Legion Stadium with Chuck Berry or Ray Charles, and the next vie with mariachis for gigs at baptismal parties, quinceañeras and weddings.

But by the 1970s, with immigration from Mexico booming, the distinctly Mexican American sound that Rampart championed — almost all of it sung in English — became overshadowed by Mexican music, which appealed to both the American-born and the immigrant.

Even though several Mexican American bands, including East L.A.’s Los Lobos, have gained fame since, Gonzalez believes most acts are largely overshadowed by Spanish-language artists, particularly from Mexico, who get to tap into a colossal media network including TV giants like Univision and popular Spanish-language radio stations.

“The Mexican American isn’t seen as being as profitable, man,” he says, revealing an undercurrent of tension between the two groups. “The immigrant is more profitable.”

That hasn’t stopped him from trying to resurrect the dream of a Mexican American Motown, re-releasing classic albums, making the music digitally available in scores of countries and signing new acts.

He knows it won’t be easy. But he believes it’s his destiny.

“I figured I’m going to try to be the guy, even if I end up homeless.”

::

Gonzalez is sitting in his Rampart Records office in a squat stucco cottage in Santa Fe Springs, across the street from a gentleman’s club and conjoined to a smog-testing business.

It’s a cave of an office, about the size of a cruise ship cabin, packed with vintage Vox amplifiers, recording equipment, vinyl albums, master tapes and promotional material from the ’60s and ’70s, and random toys like the monster from Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic “Alien.” A promotional pamphlet Davis conjured up in 1970 proclaims: “The Sound of a New Generation, Chicanos are Happening!”

The office doubles as his home, with a fridge and a sink. In a back room, an over sized guitar — or guitarron — hangs over his bed, along with a poster of Robert De Niro from “Taxi Driver” and a painting of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus. He likes to work on his music at night, when the noise outside on Norwalk Boulevard ebbs.

Nothing in the office suggests that a would-be music mogul occupies it except Gonzalez’s energy. Stocky, with a robust mustache and a baseball cap, Gonzalez drives a pale olive green ’65 Thunderbird with a rust-marbled top and talks in fast superlatives.

“My whole thing was to keep the legacy and the voice of the Mexican American going,” he says. “The musical voice of us.”

Gonzalez is telling the story of how he met Davis, a music impresario who was a former child actor turned restaurant owner. Davis had started his career as a music mogul in the late 1950s, producing both black and white artists. As a child his family moved to Boyle Heights, and by the early 1960s, he was a committed producer of Mexican American rock.

It was a good time to do this. Ritchie Valens had inspired many young Mexican Americans, and elsewhere, other Mexican American acts were making their mark, including Michigan’s Question Mark and the Mysterians (“96 Tears”) and Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs (“Wooly Bully”).

Gonzalez had never heard of Davis while growing up in South L.A. and then Bell. But after starting a soul band with some friends, he began to ask older musicians for advice on breaking out, and they told him to go find Eddie Davis. He tried, but it wasn’t easy.

“I went through the Yellow Pages. It was impossible to find him,” Gonzalez says. “Finally, I found him. He was under Record Manufacturer. He had an office in Hollywood.”

 

http://www.crnlive.com/CRNBlog/index.php/2013/01/eastside-record-label-still-spinning-out-the-music/

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 January 2013 04:00
 
The Black History Month Parade PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Friday, 18 January 2013 15:22

The Black History Month Parade celebrates the culture, heritage, history and accomplishments of Black  people in the United States and from across the world.

The Black History Month Parade features marching bands, entertainers, dignitaries, civic groups, non-profits, celebrities, corporate groups, artistic expressionist,  entertainment and fun for the whole family.

We invite you to attend and to participate in the 2013 Black History Month Parade scheduled for February 23, 2013.  The parade will start in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic District near the King Memorial and continue to the Underground Atlanta plaza where the festivities continue with live entertainment performances and plenty of fun & excitement.

For more information please go to:  http://www.blackhistorymonthparade.com/

 

Last Updated on Friday, 18 January 2013 15:31
 
Fat Joe Says He’s Guilty Of Tax Evasion PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 21:53

Fat Joe

Rapper Fat Joe has pleaded guilty to tax evasion, according to The Associated Press. As a result of his crimes, he could face up to two years in prison.

Joseph “Fat Joe” Cartagena is more than a little behind on his taxes. Reports indicate the rapper owes around $718,000 to the United States government. This tends to happen when you don’t pay your taxes for over two years.

According to the New York Post, Fat Joe earned around $1.3 million from concerts and music sales in 2007. This number jumped to around $1.4 million the following year. Unfortunately for the rapper, his failure to file income tax returns with the federal government might send him to prison for a while.

In addition to paying the monies he owes Uncle Sam, the musician is facing a fine of up to $200,000. All of this is in addition to the penalties the Internal Revenue Service may throw at the rapper.

Fat Joe was released after forking over $250,000 for bail.

The Miami Herald explains that Cartagena said he clearly understood the charges against him. The rapper’s lawyer said Fat Joe had “already taken steps to resolve this situation.” In fact, he hopes to have everything paid back in full before sentencing next year.

The plea was reportedly entered in New Jersey since Cartagena has a number of companies incorporated in the state.

Earlier this month, the feud between Fat Joe and fellow rapper 50 cent reached a turning point when the Curtis Jackson said he was interested in putting their problems aside.

“Joe never did anything to me. I never actually physically did anything to Joe. It’s really hip-hop — this music and people being competitive — and over time, you forget what the actual source of the situation is,” 50 Cent recently told Billboard.

http://www.inquisitr.com/448007/fat-joe-says-hes-guilty-of-tax-evasion/#XSJKI5AwE24F3Gtd.99

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 December 2012 21:54
 
Katt Williams & Suge Knight Detained by Police, Cited for Parking Violation PDF Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Friday, 21 December 2012 14:14

For Katt Williams, it's another day, another encounter with police.

But this time around, there was no arrest involved.

A spokeswoman for the West Hollywood Police Department tells E! News the 39-year-old comic was detained by authorities on Thursday night for parking too close to a fire hydrant. He was subsequently given a citation.

Katt Williams busted in Seattle after bar fight

Music producer Suge Knight, who was with Katt at the time, was also detained and received a citation for outstanding parking tickets.

Earlier this month, Katt was arrested in Seattle following a bar fight. The incident came less than two months after the Friday after next star was taken into custody by Los Angeles police and detained on a gun violation, but no charges were filed and he was released. A few weeks later, Williams was collared on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly hitting an 18-year-old man on the head with a bottle.

Meanwhile, Williams recently announced he is retiring from stand-up comedy

Last Updated on Friday, 21 December 2012 14:20
 
Atlanta civil rights leader, businessman dies PDF Print E-mail
Written by PHILLIP LUCAS | Associated Press   
Monday, 17 December 2012 21:41
ATLANTA (AP) — Jesse Hill Jr., a civil rights leader and businessman who later became the first black president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, died Monday. He was 86.

Hill had a close relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped make sure his legacy would be remembered, according to Steve Klein, a spokesman for the King Center, where Hill served as chairman of the board of directors from 1979 to 1995.

"He was very instrumental in developing the growth of the King Center and really a giant in Atlanta civic affairs," Klein said. "I don't think you could think of a major civic project in Atlanta for the last 20 or 30 years that he wasn't involved in."

Hill was born in St. Louis. He graduated from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., with a degree in mathematics and physics, and earned a master's in actuarial science from the University of Michigan. He joined the Atlanta Life Insurance Company in 1949 and eventually became the company's president and CEO. He retired in 1990.

Hill was named the head of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce — now called the Metro Atlanta Chamber, in 1978. Hill participated in several economic trade missions to Europe on behalf of the chamber and accompanied President Jimmy Carter on a trade mission to Nigeria.

In 1960, Hill helped create the Atlanta Inquirer, the city's first newspaper for the African-American community. He served as publisher until 1985.

Inquirer Deputy Editor David Stokes said Hill's wife contacted the paper with news of his death Monday. It wasn't immediately clear how he died.

"He helped, along with some of the preachers in the heyday of the civil rights movement, to raise money for bond when civil rights workers were incarcerated," Stokes said.

Hill was also a board member on the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

"Jesse Hill represented leadership from the corporate community, which gave financial support and authenticity to the movement for social change," Dr. Bernard LaFayette, the group's chairman, said in a statement. "His wealth of corporate contacts convinced business and political leaders that we were going to jail for the right reasons."

Hill also worked in voter registration initiatives and helped desegregate Atlanta Public Schools, and the University System of Georgia.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Hill was an essential figure in bridging the divide between the business community and the African-American community.

"Atlanta would not be what it is today without Jesse Hill Jr.'s extraordinary contributions," the mayor said in a statement.

This photo taken Aug. 1, 1980 shows Jesse Hill Jr., an Atlanta businessman and a leader in the civil Rights Movement. Hill has died at the age of 86. Hill was born in St. Louis and served on the board of directors for a diverse set of companies and nonprofits. He joined the Atlanta Life Insurance Company as an actuarial assistant and became the first African-American president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, now called the Metro Atlanta Chamber. In 1960, Hill and other civil rights leaders founded the Atlanta Inquirer, a newspaper created to serve the city's African-American community. He served as publisher until 1985. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Steve Deal)

 
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