Friday, August 22, 2014

Your Friday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 1958, please enjoy in breathless wonder a STEREO version of Ritchie Valens' classic "La Bamba." A record that Greil Marcus rightly called one of the most exciting in 50s rock, and in this incarnation is even more exciting.

I must confess that I did not know that this existed until I heard it Tuesday as a guest on my chum Allan Rosenberg's intertube radio show (I'll put the archive link to the show up as soon as the station posts it).

In any case, a mindblower -- you're conditioned to think of 50s rock in mono, in sort of the same way you're conditioned to think of World War II in black-and-white, so when you discover something like this the effect is almost psychedelic.



Hey Steve,

Just had one of those funny messages from DivShare -- "this account has not been confirmed bla bla bla"

I'm reminded of a very funny piece in the New Yorker from a million years ago (like probably around the time of that movie) "The La Bamba Hotline" a call centre helping people with their La Bamba issues!

steve simels said...

Does the thing play on your end? It's working for me...

Anonymous said...

I get the same message as Jayessemm.

Anonymous said...

It's working for me. Played it through twice and we did a little La Bamba twisting.

Regarding the single. I have heard that the backing track was recorded in true stereo but vox were never laid on top. Sometime in the 80's or 90's, the vox from the mono mix were laid on it. Probably by engineers for reissue label, Eric Records.

There are two versions. One with the vox predominant in one channel [the one presented here] and another stereo version with the vox centered.

Only reason I know is that I used to play tennis doubles with an accountant who was a huge stereo-mono-alt.mix geekerooni. His wife hated me.

Vickie Rock - Yo no soy marinero, soy capitan.

Dave said...

I still maintain that if he had lived, Valens had a chance to be a great artist. Donna>True Love Ways for me, anyday.

danny1959 said...

Sounds incredible! It puts those early '60s Beatles and Stones stereo mixes to shame!

Anonymous said...

There is a ghostly second voice in there, you hear it coming out of the break just before the real vocal restarts. Makes me think they were layering tracks.

If you read the new Bert Berns biography, it brings out the point that Berns whole lifetime's work was inspired by this song -- from the Isley's "Twist and Shout" to Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl". He essentially worked every variation of "La Bamba's" three chords and Latin Beat he could come up with. Thanks for posting this stereo mix.

Anonymous said...


The "ghostly" second vocal is also present on the mono single.

Vickie Rock - Ooh my head!

Anonymous said...

I think the ghost vocal is a reference vocal leaking into the instrument mics during the recording of the instrumental track.

Allan R. (Capt. Al)