Chris Montez: Let's Dance - The Monogram Sides (CD)
(1992/ACE) 20 tracks (46:11) with 8 page booklet. Everybody knows
'Let's Dance'. A million seller that has charted three times in the UK,
it now enjoys the kind of status that lets you know that rock'n'roll
classics are the folk songs of our time. On the back of that one big
success, Montez regularly tours the oldies and night club circuits of
America and Europe (he was in the UK at the end of last year on a
similar visit with Len Barry). This album collects together Montez's
sides for the Los Angeles label. Monogram, including, of course, 'Let's
Dance' and 'Some Kinda Fun' (a No.10 in the UK in 1963). Montez started
out as a ballad singer and like Ritchie Valens, a fellow
Hispanic-American, was influenced as much by the rancheras (Spanish folk
songs) of his youth as by his peer group's rock'n'roll. "Let's Dance"
featured an ace group including Jesse Sailes on drums, Ray Johnson on
organ, sometime Doors' bassist Ray Pohiman and Joel Hill (later to work
with Canned Heat) on guitar. Stan Ross's engineering gave the session
it's distinctive sound. This collection is a mixture of ballads and big
sound rockers that show Montez deserved more than the one-hit wonder tag
he seems to be stuck with.
Article properties: Chris Montez: Let's Dance - The Monogram Sides (CD)
born Jan. 17, 1943, in Los Angeles, attended the same school in Hawthorne, California, as the Beach Boys. He made his first record, 'She's My Rocking Baby' at 17, in 1960. After graduating in 1961, he met Jim Lee, a young writer-producer working at Indigo Records in Holly-wood. Leaving Indigo, Lee formed Monogram Records around Montez, whose first record for the label, 'All You Had To Do Was Tell Me' (a duet with Kathy Young) became a local hit.
The sequel, `Let's Dance', sold a million late in 1962, as did the follow-up, `Some Kinda Fun' (al-though it only reached No. 43 in America), and Montez toured Britain with Tommy Roe early in 1963, headlining over newcomers the Beatles. Montez's subsequent releases flopped and in 1964, Jim Lee abandoned the label to pursue a singing career. Montez came back on AM in 1966 with `Call Me' and 'The More I See You', both sung in the coy middle-of-the-road style he still practises today.