Emerging from LA in the late 1960’s, El Chicano were originally formed by Freddie Sanchez under the title, The VIP’s. Their name change, which was altered soon after their formation, was taken from Chicano, a term for US citizens of Mexican descent. This was inspired by the increasing Chicano consciousness in America at that time.
Their sound fused together elements of rock, funk, soul, blues, jazz and salsa; with heavy keyboard elements incorporated into these vibrant mixes. El Chicano released a number of records over the following four decades, with a few band member changes over the years, but today’s song is the title track from their 1970 debut album, Viva Tirado (which was also released as a single that same year). First issued as a 45 on New York label, Kapp Records, Viva Tirado is a jazzy, soul-rock rendition of Gerald Wilson’s original song about a bullfighter, which was released three years earlier in 1967.
It’s one of those rare occasions when I can actually say that I prefer the cover, and it would appear that many people were enjoying this sound too, as the song did very well on LA radio and remained at No.1 for thirteen straight weeks!! It’s also evident to see why the keys on this record have been compared to that of the wonderful legend that is Ray Manzarek; the band even cover Light My Fire on this album!!! Check it out above and enjoy!