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Vintage Vinyl

The Occasionals "Break Away"/"Whispering Tides" Knight Records 4464, March 1964

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Pueblo High School students Gary Dudo, Daniel Ponce, Guz Ruis, Jim Hubbard, and Ennis Lemmos started playing together in 1962, and by '63-'64 the combo was playing show after show in Arizona, California, and New Mexico. They had a large following among Mexican-American audiences and even performed on Tucson's "Mexican Theater," a Sunday Morning TV show on KGUN hosted by Villegas Brothers which featured Spanish films and live entertainment. I have vivid memories of seeing this broadcast as a youngster on my parent's ginormous tube-powered black-and-white Admiral TV set. Gus was the son of a long-time employee of my dad's at his drapery shop. I faintly remembered Mary Ruiz telling me that the group would "wear Beatle wigs on the weekend." Years later I found out that they indeed occasionally wore the wigs and performed as Los Cucarachas! The Occasionals' debut record was recorded at Audio Recorders in Phoenix (see a trend here? I wonder how the folks at Tucson's Copper State Studios felt about all these bands opting for the Phoenix studio) with Ron Story producing and releasing the tracks on his Knight Records label in March, 1964. This is a fine instrumental effort, recorded right before the British Invasion hit; the A-side a spirited stomp, and the flipside a ballad which sounds like The Ventures doing The Shadows. This was the first of the band's four singles.

Lee Joseph grew up in Tucson. He's a DJ (Luxuriamusic.com), marketer of cool shit (Reverberations Media) and founder/CEO of internationally respected Dionysus Records, an indie that has long specialized in releasing super-rare music, and more. He came of age in the first wave of Tucson punk rock and is an expert on Tucson music. He now lives in California. Vintage Vinyl is a recurring addition to the Tucson Weekly.


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