Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(Terry Harris)

Warner Bros. 5443

No. 19    August 1, 1964




Very few Latino rock’n’roll bands, in the days before Santana, managed to successfully steal even a slight

serving of the nation’s auditory attention.   Among the few such acts were the  Blendells, the Midnighters,



The Premiers–George Delgado (guitar), Johnny Perez (drums), Larry Perez (guitar), Phil Ruiz (sax),  Joe

Urzua (sax), and Frank Zuniga (bass)–were  East L.A.’ers through and through.   Since they were building

up  a reputation on the Southern California circuit as a knock-out band, producers Billy Cardenas and

Eddie Davis made a special effort to checkout their paces at the Rainbow Gardens in Pomona.   Cardenas

and Davis were impressed, and approached the guys about making some recordings. “Farmer John,” a

cover version of an old Don & Dewey number, was the first side issued on the localFaro label.


The unruly crowd sounds in the background give the impression that “Farmer John” was alive recording;

the label even claims that the number was taped “live at The Rhythm Room in Fullerton, California.”   In

actuality, Cardenas and Davis brought the band and a pile of friends into an old studio on Melrose Avenue.

The friends were duly inebriated and instructed to whoop it up as if they were at a wild party (this bit of

trickery became an increasingly common way to simulate the excitement of a live performance on record).

When sales on “Farmer John” ballooned beyond the Hispanic community,   Warner Bros. picked up the 45

for national distribution.


“Annie Oakley,” the follow-up, flopped, and was–seemingly–the only other Premiers disk to receive

national distribution.    Thereafter, a few years’ worth of now-hard-to-find, similar-sounding singles were

issued on   Faro.   The band reportedly carried on working the Southern California circuit for much of the