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10 Throwback Chicano Soul Tracks By San Antonio Artists We Love 

click to enlarge COURTESY OF SUNNY OZUNA
  • Courtesy of Sunny Ozuna

To the outsider, and even the undiscerning local, San Antonio doesn’t come across as an R&B and soul mecca. Since the advent of Tejano in the 1970s (which flourished into the ’90s with Selena at the helm), San Antonio would be known as a hotspot in the genre – an amalgamation of polka, pop, rock, R&B, conjunto, mariachi, and ranchera. And living in such a hot spot means you should know the top hits that make the genre what it is. If you don't already know these tracks, take a listen and fall in love with the sounds of San Antonio as the city celebrates Fiesta and its 300th anniversary.

Dimas III & The Royal Jesters
“You’ve Succeeded”

Something truly magical happens when this 45 drops. The horns hit, the harmonies hit and Dimas comes out with, “If you want to see me sad, you’ve succeeded.” This highly collectible slice of Chicano Soul is of the highest order and quality. Holy grail status = firme. – JJ Lopez

Joe Jama & The Royal Jesters
“Girl I Can't Forget”

The Royal Jesters featured a few legendary singers throughout the band’s extensive recording history. “Girl I Can’t Forget” features Joe Jama in fine form on this seriously hot tear-jerker. – JJL

Henry & The Kasuals

Another 45 that gets your attention right from the drop features frontman Henry ‘Pepsi’ Pena – the hardest working man in Chicano Soul – yesterday and today. “Forever” was recorded for the legendary Cobra record label and is a cover of the Marvelettes’ “Darling Forever.” – JJL

Doc & Sal
“Laughing to Keep From Crying”

Recorded for the Dynamic record label, “Laughing to Keep from Crying” was issued as a fierce double-sider 45 with “Can’t Get You Off My Mind” on the flip. Both tunes written by the legendary Ricky Davila (KEDA 1540AM). – JJL

Little Jr. Jesse & The Teardrops
“Ain’t No Big Thing”

Originally recorded by the Radiants in 1965, “Ain’t No Big Thing” has become a soul staple and interpreted by quite a few different artists. Here, one time radio DJ, Little Jr. Jesse, is with his Teardrops unleashing what could be one of the definitive versions. Side note: peep Esteban Jordan’s version for a killer alternative. – JJL

Rickey Vee And The Stardusters
“Pretty Girls”

“Even at the rodeo there’s a pretty girl.” Not only is does this track bump, but you could almost see a music video of dudes cruising through Fiesta checking out all the pretty girls in peasant tops and flower crowns. – Chris Conde

Rick & The Sonics
“As Time Goes By”

Not that we condone breaking the law, but if you partake of the devil’s lettuce, this is definitely one of those tracks you’d maybe cruise around your ‘hood with holding hands with your significant other and you know, getting a nice THC fix. – CC

Danny & The Tejanos
“What’s The Word - Pa-go-go”

This break beat, these sliding horns, dare I call this song perfect? Fuck it, this track is a banger and we’ve played it probably 20 times in a row in the office just now. – CC

The Eptones
“No One Else But You”

Damn, why is this whole era of music epic as hell? Another group to emerge out of Burbank High School alongside Sunny and The Sunliners, The Eptones’ “No One Else But You” is rich in brass and vocal harmonies with basslines that perfectly round out this mid-tempo love song. – CC

Sunny and The Sunliners
Should I Take You Home"

Ooh-wee! Arguably one of the, if not the, sexiest jams ever produced by someone from San Antonio, Sunny Ozuna's “Should I Take You Home” probably was playing in the background while a whole generation of folks were being conceived. So be careful with this one. – CC

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