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Thee Midniters Greatest
Thump Records, Inc. 206 579 089 2

1. Land Of A Thousand Dances 2:23
(Chris Kenner / Antoine Domino) Tune Kel / Anatole, BMI

2. Whittier Blvd. 2:27
(Thee Midniters) Tormid Music, BMI

3. That’s All 3:05
(Alan Brandt / Bob Haynes) Portrait, BMI

4. Empty Heart 2:31
(Nanker Phelge) ABKCO Music, BMI

5. I Need Someone 3:00
(Lenny Welch) Taurus Music, BMI

6. Giving Up On Love 2:45
(R. Gottcher / J. Goldstein / B. Feldman) BMI

7. Sad Girl 2:49
(Smith / Wiggins) I.P.G. Music Inc., BMI

8. Brother Where Are You? 4:06
(Oscar Brown, Jr.) E.B. Marks Music Corp., BMI

9. It’ll Never Be Over For Me 3:22
(Sam Bobrick / Norm Blagman) Bourne Music, ASCAP

10. Love Special Delivery 2:12
(W. Garcia / J. Espinoza) Tormid Music, BMI

11. Are You Angry?
(M. Flores / W. Garcia / J. Espinoza) Tormid Music, BMI

12. Don’t Go Away
(R. Marquez / W. Garcia / J. Espinoza) Tormid Music, BMI

13. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love 2:41
(Bert Berns / Solomon Burke / Jerry Wexler) Keetch, Caesar & Dino, BMI

14. Dreaming Casually
(W. Garcia / L. Rendon) Tormid Music, BMI

15. Never Knew I Had It So Bad 2:32
(G. Dominguez / W. Garcia / D. La Mont) Tormit Music, BMI

16. Making Ends Meet 2:34
(W. Garcia / L. Rendon) Tormid Music, BMI

17. Welcome Home Darling 2:16
(W. Garcia / D. La Mont) Tormid Music, BMI

18. The Town I Live In 3:18
(Rice / Mitchell / Dodd) Sylvia Music, BMI

19. Jump, Jive and Harmonize 3:03
(W. Garcia / J. Espinoza / R. Marquez) Tormid Music, BMI

20. Chicano Power 2:27
(Romeo Prado) Tormid Music, BMI


Little Willie G: lead vocals, trombone, piano, harmonica
Jimmy Espinoza: bass guitar, background vocals
Romeo Prado: trombone, background vocals
Larry Rendon: saxes, woodwinds, keyboards
George Dominguez: lead guitar, mandolin
Roy Marquez: rhythm guitar, background vocals
Danny La Mont: drums, piano
Ronny Figueroa: organ, conga, hysterical laughter

Visit us online for Fan Club Information.
Upcoming Releases and Concert Information: www.theemidniters.com


Front Cover Personnel: Left to Right / Larry Rendon, Roy Marquez, Romeo Prado, Little Willie G (Garcia), George Dominguez, Jimmy Espinoza, Danny La Mont

Front Cover Photography: George Rodriguez, Olvera Street, Los Angeles, CA circa (1967)

Insert Photograph – Daniel Bagliazo, Nelson R. Farmer and Clem Tarin

Insert Photos from the personal collection of William Garcia, Jimmy Espinoza and Gene Aguilera

Engineers: Bruce Morgan and Brian Jones
Studios: Stereo Masters – Hollywood, CA / Sherwood Recorders – Sherman Oaks, CA

Re-Mastered: Duchess Studios – Whittier, CA
Engineer: Chuck Minear

Art Direction/Design: Domingo
Production Manager: Kari Eckelbarger
Creative Consultant: Gene Aguilera

Produced and Compiled by: William Garcia and Jimmy Espinoza

Special Thanks to: Bob Ludwig, Pebo Rodriguez, Richie Unterberger, David Reyes, Tom Waldman, Joel Arquieta, Virgie Flores, Tony Lopez, and Grace Lara
Executive Producers: William Walker and Jimmy Espinoza

Available for the first time ever on CD is the “GREATEST” by Thee Midniters – leading innovators of the East L.A. sound of the 1960’s. From romantic R&B ballads to horn-driven rockers, they deliver pure raza passion and still remain among the greatest groups in the history of Chicano rock ‘n roll.

Note: The music contained in this CD was selected from the best vinyl sources possible. Some surface noise was inevitable in this venture. Consider them like “scratches on fine leather,” proof of the origin and authenticity of the material in which they were found.

Arriba, arriba! The record that’s currently spinning in your player is the first legitimate CD compilation by the most accomplished and exciting band to blast out of East Los Angeles during the 1960’s – Thee Midniters.

Despite the fact that their career-breaking hit “Land of a Thousand Dances” was quickly eclipsed nationally by another cover of the Chris Kenner tune by Cannibal & the Headhunters, Thee Midniters are revered today in the East L.A. community. They were homeboys, hailing from a number of East Side high schools – Salesian, Montebello, Fremont, Wilson. And the members’ diverse musical backgrounds and enthusiasms formed their unique and thrilling sound.

“The band is like a melting pot,” says bassist Jimmy Espinoza. “(Vocalist) Willie Garcia came in with the soul ballad, the pop kind of appeal. (Trumpeter) Romeo Prado and (saxophonist) Larry Rendon loved the Jazz Crusaders, along with myself. They liked Frank Sinatra, they liked Johnny Mathis, so we had the legit stuff covered. (Rhythm guitarist) Ray Marquez and myself shared a passion for the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, hence the British Invasion influence. Romeo Prado and myself liked Henry Mancini, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, hence the lush, classier approach when we approached things like ‘That’s All’ or ‘Strangers in The Night.’ George Dominguez, the lead guitar player, was a self-taught blues guy. He liked Bobby Blue Band and B.B. King. He also came from a traditional background, with the Mexican boleros and the Spanish influence.”

The band’s earliest hits were the product of accidents or happy fate. Their original version of “Land of a Thousand Dances” was recorded live of a 1964 show at East L.A. College.

Singer Garcia – “Little Willie G” – explains, “We were going to back up Cannibal & the Headhunters at that show. They got stuck in the fog coming back from the Rainbow Ballroom in Fresno, and they didn’t make the gig. We had done our set, and we’re looking over into the wings, ‘cause it was quiet, and we didn’t know what to do next. The elevated stage wasn’t going down. And (promoter) Bill Taggert’s going, “Keep playing. They’re not here, keep going.’ And the only other songs that we had rehearsed were the songs we were going to do behind Cannibal & the Headhunters. So we did ‘em. We recorded the song, and man, the crowd just went nuts.”

Thee Midniters’ cover was trumped by Cannibal’s thanks to better national distribution, but the group had made its mark, and the Kenner tune remained a fixture of their sets, (it was re-recorded in the studio for the group’s 1965 debut album for Chatahoochie Records; that track is heard here.)

The recording of “Whittier Blvd.,” the electrifying instrumental that remains an East L.A. cruising anthem to this day, was a near-accident as well, Garcia remembers. “We loved the Rolling Stones, and actually, when we were setting up to rehearse, ‘2120 South Michigan Avenue’ was what we would be jamming on. We had done ‘Evil Love,’ and we needed a song for a b side, so we said, ‘Why don’t we do that song we’re always tripping on?’ I added that, ‘Let’s take a trip down Whittier Boulevard!’”

Honing their skills as Chico Sesma’s famed dances at the Hollywood Palladium, Thee Midniters rapidly amassed a repertoire drawn from the best in rock, pop, soul, R&B, and even jazz – the Stones, Solomon Burke, Nat King Cole, Jay Wiggins, Oscar Brown, Jr. By 1966, their manager Eddie Torres was looking for more original material from the group. “He challenged us,” recalls Espinoza. “He just walked out. There was dead silence. Our tempers were hot. So we actually wrote ‘Love Special Delivery’ in about 15 or 20 minutes.’

Greatest includes a number of superb originals Thee Midniters tunes heard on their Whittier albums Bring You Love Special Delivery and Unlimited, ranging from the stupendous slow-dance ballad “Dreaming Casually” to the Chicago-styled horn-rocker “Love Special Delivery” and the thrashing “Never Knew I Had It So Bad” and “Jump, Jive and Harmonize,” which are virtually indistinguishable from the garage-punk screamers of the day.

By the late ‘60s, the first chapter of Thee Midniters’ saga was nearing its end. Willie G left the group in 1969, followed by Espinoza in 1970. In 1983, Espinoza, Prado, and Rendon regrouped under the Midniters banner; in 1999, Garcia rejoined his former bandmates for a Salesian High benefit, setting the stage for the astonishing reunion gigs they play today.

Thee Midniters’ legacy – heard in the 20 glorious tracks here – grows more luminous with each passing year, and is considered with justifiable pride by the band’s members.

Espinoza says, “Sometimes I feel, wow, nobody did what we did. It was extremely magical.” Garcia adds, “I think back and I say to myself, ‘Man, I was blessed to have been able to be a part of that particular era, and that band.’ I look at this release now, and man, I just want to stand on the roof and shout.”

So will you.

- Chris Morris, Billboard Magazine    

Tracks 1 thru 6 from Whittier Blvd. featuring Land Of A Thousand Dances – Whittier Records (WS-1001) 1965

Tracks 10 thru 12 from Bring You LOVE SPECIAL DELIVERY – Whittier Records (WS-5000) 1966

Tracks 13 thru 18 from UNLIMITED – Whittier Records (WS-5001) 1967

Tracks 7 thru 8 from GIANTS – Whittier Records (WS-5002) 1969

Tracks 9, 19 and 20 from 45 Singles Collection
     It’ll Never Be Over For Me – Whittier Records (501) 1966
     Jump, Jive and Harmonize – Whittier Records (507) 1967
     Chicano Power – Whittier Records (513) 1969

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