Thee Midniters

Thee Complete Midniters: Songs of Love, Rhythm and Psychedelia

(CD - Infinity Entertainment Group / Micro Werks #MIW 101002)

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An East L.A. band from the 1960s, Thee Midniters are a bit of a well-kept secret. Led by the soulful vocals of Willie Garcia, the guitar playing of George Dominguez, and the ferocious drumming of George Salazar and Danny LaMont -- and featuring horns, timbales, and congas -- Thee Midniters were solidly professional, and essentially set the template for later pop horn bands like Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago, although almost any musical form was in play for this band, including British Invasion, R&B, salsa, gospel, and straight-out soul. This wonderful set collects the group's entire recorded output on four discs, and includes a stomping rendition of "Land of a Thousand Dances," covers of soul ballads like "The Town I Live In" and "Giving Up on Love," Chicano-themed material such as "The Ballad of César Chávez," and minor (minor in the sense that few people really heard them) hits "Whittier Boulevard," "Love Special Delivery," and "That's All." It's all pretty impressive, a bit like finding an earlier, nascent version of Los Lobos. Tons of alternate versions, demos, and live tracks are also collected in this well-thought-out collection.

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