A SOUNDTRACK TO THE Civil Rights struggles of Mexican-Americans, parallel to the movements instigated by Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, is mainly of interest to archivists and nostalgists. Anyone who cares about where Latinos are going in America today, on a musical level, would do better to search out current releases. For the record, ‘Chicano Power!…’ is a compendium of mostly disappeared groups who made mainstream sense in the context of hippies, Jefferson Airplane and San Francisco flower power.
The music, while mainly of a protest nature, remains earthy, with horns, drums and keyboards providing a backdrop for singers of varying capacities. Acts like Black Sugar and Malo add a slight rock sensibility to traditional rhythms, whilst Santana went on from here to be one of the best-known groups of the ’70s. Yet it’s curios like Mother Night’s ‘Fool Are You’, which critiques the NASA space programme of the time, and Chango’s ‘Mira Pa Ca’, a tribute to an ancient deity, that seem to have some vague resonance now.
What truth is there here? That the radical, extreme and borderline offensive music of now will be acceptable in 20 years’ time.