While you may not think that Chicago, Illinois, was a hotbed of Latin activity in the 70s, think again. Not only were there plenty of hot salsa groups being recorded by EBIRAC Records, a Mexican-American group called Los Aristocratas de Chicago also found modest local popularity playing Latin music typical of Northern Mexico and the American Southwest. To be sure, though, they recorded for the Los Angeles-based Musimex label that marketed and distributed their releases mostly in the Southern border region of US where their core market resided.
Hidden in two bargain bin albums (both recorded in 1974) are single tracks that show another side to Los Aristocratas’ usual Cumbia / Ranchera / Balada musical leanings: funk music. The first great example of this comes in their Vol. 1 LP with a real nice cover of Ray Barretto‘s classic summertime jam, “Cocinando”, which I have already featured on this site. It’s a pretty straight-forward cover but for the hot electric guitar that comes in the end. Suave!
While I’m at it, I wanted to throw up another track by Los Aristocratas that appears on their Vol. 2 LP from the same year (and most likely the same recording session). “Poppin” comes across in true border-town Latin Funk fashion, and really it’s a funky ranchera a la Los Vampiros. Me gusta!