This is a few days late, but I don't want for the week to go by without mentioning the recent passing of Rudy Regalado, a revered musician in the worlds of Latin rock, Latin jazz and salsa. In L.A. popular culture, he was best known as the man behind the timbales in the legendary 1970s band El Chicano, whose sound could only be described as pure Eastside.
Rooted in East L.A., the band was responsible for classics that for some Angelenos are nothing short of anthems: "Tell Her She's Lovely," the instrumental "Viva Tirado" (in the video above, Regalado is on the timbales to the far left) and perhaps one of the greatest-ever recorded versions of "Sabor a Mí." Their sound was loose, funky and soulful, and it remains especially evocative for many an Eastside-raised kid, me included.
Born Hector José Regalado in 1943 in Venezuela, Regalado was one of the leading timbaleros of his era. After 12 years with El Chicano he formed his own band, which became known as Chevere. He performed with some of the greats (including Tito Puente, below) and had recently been performing in a reunited version of El Chicano, including in a festival commemorating the 40th anniversary of Woodstock last year, held in San Francisco.
Regalado died Nov. 4 at his home in Las Vegas at the age of 67. Another El Chicano member, keyboardist Bobby Espinosa, died earlier this year at age 60.
Here are Rudy and Tito together, tearing it up: