You hold a very special record in your hands. All tunes have been recorded with minimum equipment at a height of around 4000 meters by rebellious teenagers in Bolivia at the end of the 60's. Although almost forgotten and totally unknown outside of the country, this music called "go-go" conceals many treasures of which Discos del Condor are proud to present here some items.
The rock 'n roll entered Bolivia at the beginning of the sixties through airplay. The first parties were thrown in the Bolivian way: records played on a pick-up and backed by percussionists on bongos, tambourines, etc.
At this time, the power was still cut at 11 p.m. in many cities and farm-carts rolled through the dusty streets between the few automobiles. The coming of the Beatles records and a few concerts at the Open Air Theatre of the Uruguayan Shakers and Iracundos in La Paz and of los Clevers (Brasil) in Santa Cruz de la Sierra unleashed a huge wave of bands emulating their English idols.
That's how the Nueva Ola was born in Bolivia and how the seeds of teenage rebellion and long hair were sown.
It was a rock 'n roll time and the life of a Bolivian nuevaolero was not always a piece of cake: police authorities used to organize "shear operations" in which the goal was to catch any long-haired boy walking in the streets in order to shave his head! Some bands were arrested because they looked too much like guerrilleros. The tours all around the country occured in buses through the famous most dangerous roads in the world, where the driver has to cross himself before each curve. But one thing is certain: these young musicians succeeded in creating a unique style, both raw and groovy.
We dug up some vinyl jewels which show the magical groove peculiar to the bolivian bands. As some of these records are not in great condition, the sound quality may not be so good as wished but we are convinced that when all is said and done, the power of rock 'n roll beats the 'velvet of the microgroove'.
Los Dalton's This band started in Santa Cruz de la Sierra around 1967. After a first EP featuring 4 sung ballads, they released an instrumental EP in 1968 maybe because the singer lost his voice. No reason to complain though: the four tracks are absolute delight, driven by a crazy organ and played with happy wildness. We start the record with this cover of the Ventures that lifts us directly to the high and dry grounds of the Bolivian Highlands.
The Dhag Dhag's This impossible name hides a real jewel: one of the best sixties beat band of the world. The Dhag Dhag's was a teenage trio from La Paz led by the inspired Javier Sandoval. In 1968, they released their first EP for the "Psicofasico" division of the old company Discos Mendez. "Trata de comprender" is a cover of the Knickerbockers' "One-track mind". "Tipo sicodelico" is a self-penned song in english. Probably the first psychedelic recording in Bolivia!! Its ghostly atmosphere reminds us of the Peruvian Saicos. In "Bohemio", Sandoval makes fun of the local conservatives while the combo creates a groove that surely drove many go-go chicks crazy on the dance floors from La Paz to Santa Cruz.
Los Ecos - Beware! We've got something hot here. These rolling drums, these high-pitched shouts... they don't come from one of these usual pimply teenage punks but from a great 11 years-old little chick! Let's dare to write it down: the youngest rocking chick in the world, a genuine forgotten heroine of the sixties nicknamed 'Terso'. She and her much older pals delivered this infernal 'huli-guli' in mid-1967. It's a cover of Rufus Thomas' "Walk that walk". The next year, they scored a national hit in 1968 with the great song "Callare simplemente".
The Blackstones - Again a trio. Coming from Santa Cruz, they moved to Cochabamba and recorded at least one EP for Psicofasico in 1969. Covering the Walker's "Pain" an sung by J.C. Lugones, "Pena" is a typical case of how to crudely express teenage frustrations with electric guitars and three chords. Minimalist, raw and neurotic: the first bolivian punk song ever!?!!
Los Tennyson - The poets of the bunch. This mysterious group came probably from Cochabamba or Oruro. They released some late-twist records in 1967. This ballad is taken from their EP titled "Psicodelico" and recorded for Lyra in 1969. "Terso, drummer of Los Ecos
Grupo 606 - At the end of 1966, three classmates from a Cochabamba highschool started this fantastic band. They chose the name with no particular reason! In the beginning they played at local parties on self-made instruments. In 1967, they met a radio DJ who introduced them to a singer called Oswaldo and arranged a recording session at the Lyra studio. Early 1969, these kids (17 to 19 years old) released their second EP in which they displayed their garage-punk fury. On the B-side, they first mistreat the Doors' "Break on through" in a version that would even make a stoned californian hippy spring in the air. Then they amaze us with this splendid cover of the Blues Magoos' "fiotta get away". Later, under the name "Oswaldo y Srupo 606" they would reach some fame and score a few hits.
The Donkeys - Created in 1967, the Donkeys was one of the most sucessful bands in Bolivia. Originating from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the line-up consisted of ex-members of Los Vándalos and los Fire Hearts. Once famous, they moved to La Paz where they horrified the local conservatives. They cruised all day long on the Prado on board of a Jeep known as "the yellow Rolls-Royce", wearing flares and flowered shirts. They sung in spanish, Portuguese and italian. We can savour here a great cover of the spanish band Los Pasos, recorded in September 1968. This very same year, the army arrested them because they suspected that these strange guys wearing beards and long hair could be nothing else than fighters of "Che" Guevarra guerrilla... Oh, one more thing: they are our cover-boys. Strangely (but also logically, if any lógica is to be found in Bolivia) Los Burros appears to be the same band. This tune comes from an EP recorded for Psicofdsico in 1969. We chose to present here the cover the Young Rascals "You'd better run". This masterpiece doesn't need any comment: another magic spell, courtesy of Psicofasico productions!
Los Bonny Boy's Hot's - The first great electric band from Bolivia. They released lots of records, backing Nueva Ola singers for the Lyra label, but the most interesting are their own recordings. Here, they revive the famous andean theme composed by Jorge Bravo de la Rueda and popularized by Yma Sumac, in this astonishing go-go version. The theme is dedicated to the mythical Incan virgins of the Sun God who made so many spanish barbarians fantasize in the XVIth century. Recorded in 1966, this instrumental was a big hit in Bolivia and the band can be considered as real specialists as they later released other incaic foxes and traditional songs in go-go style.
The Loving Darks - The band was funded in La Paz in 1969 by Félix Chavez, a talented guitar player from argentinian origin, and the great drummer Boris Rodriguez. Chavez played before in Las Tortugas and Rodriguez in the Black Byrds, one of the pioneer bands of Bolivia. They released at least 3 EP's for Lyra until 1972. This cover of the Rolling Stones' "Complicated" is taken from their second EP and was recorded at the end of 1969. They play it "de luxe": grandiose fuzz guitar, diabolical drums, groovy organ and avant-garde bass 10 years ahead of his time.
Los Grillos - Maybe the most famous band of this comp. Los Grillos started at the end of 1967 under the name The Crickets in Cochabamba. When they hispanif ied (or whatever the right word is) their name, they dedicated themselves to play "popular dance music" and scored many hits. They appeared often on TV and recorded nearly 20 EP's for Lyra and later for their own label Grillo. In the 70's, they experimented a sort of folk-rock with andean tunes and Moogl This track dates from 1968 and is one of their first recordings. It's a famous popular spanish song with words by Federico Garcia Lorca. Anyway, the guitar solo deserves a place in the world's Pantheon of desperate rock 'n roll.