Welcome to the world’s best Latin Funk 45 (half joking). This Enrique Olivarez y Los Vampiros record is right from my backyard in Stockton, CA, so naturally I tried to contact the band and get as much info as I could. The devastating funk track “Al’s Place” is named after the band’s guitarist, Al Olivarez, a tall guy known for jumping right off the band stand during shows and socking dudes in the face who looked at him wrong! If it weren’t for this guy, Los Vampiros wouldn’t have made nearly as many funk songs. He wrote the majority of their Latin Funk and Rock output as it turns out. The band garnered regional popularity not from these funk tracks, however, but for their Rancheras and Corridos. They even got marginal commercial success in Mexico with their “Hay Amor” hit balada on 45 (also on their Vol 2 LP), written by bandleader Enrique (Henry) Olivarez.
“Al’s Place” is the obvious winner here, but I also really dig “El Coqueton” for the horn solos and Al’s epic fuzz guitar noodling. You will only be able to find this second tune on Super Sonido!
Here’s a little backstory on how this record came to be reissued by the world famous funk reissue label, Jazzman from the UK (for the 3 people who care). I spoke with DJ Shadow about this record and it turns out that he uncovered it in the mid 90s, and eventually hit up the Olivarez family through their now-closed furniture store in Stockton, looking for additional copies. He brought it over to the UK around ’97 and started playing it at funk nights, eventually catching the ear of Keb Darge who put it on a BBE comp. It was so popular in funk collector circles that Jazzman eventually released two of their tracks on a 45 and later put one more funk instrumental on their latest California Funk compilation.
– Adam Dunbar
Los Vampiros: “Al’s Place” & “El Coqueton” (Discos Vampiros, 1971)
Wow more amazing Latin-Funk from Adam who runs the Musica Del Alma blog. Adam thanks for the great post and gracing our ears with this gem. If you haven’t been to his site, I strongly recommend that you do – plus there is a great mix he just put up. Since Adam was throwing up some Rancheras gone Funk – I thought I’d take the opportunity to do the same. The only difference is that I know nothing about this group and I have nothing really more to say. Enjoy!