Herb Alpert and the Tiajuna Brass help me through adolescence. Not their music. Their album covers. Well, the Whipped Cream album cover, at least. Oh, how I desperately tried to find reasons to pull out that album. Those memories (like Proust's) came flooding back to me when the cover of the Baja Marimba Band's Heads Up caught my eye. I found it mislabelled in the "Ethnic" section of the radio. There's not one bit of ethinicty to be found here. Had it been filed in Pop or Easy Listening, I mostly likely wouldn't be writing this.
Growing up, I'd watch the black and white re-runs of The Cisco Kid and run around the house yelling, "Oh, oh, Ceeeesico - Oh, oh, Pannnncho" in the worst pervsion of a Mexican accent I could manage. Later, I perfected my Frito Bandito and Speedy Gonzales voice. Mexican were HILARIOUS! And those funny costume hats they wore! Fortunately, I was in a pretty white suburb in Southern California at the time, so I didn't get my ass kicked and I somehow knew not to do it around my friend, Frank Gonzales and his brother.
I'm not telling you this simply to bang the political correctness (or whatevver it's called now) drum. I wouldn't even bother except for the striking dichtomy of The Baja Marimba Band taking the time to dress up in Mexican blackface simply to play watered down, valium induced version of already watered down, valium inspired white music.
I'm just sayin'