Bobby EspinosaBobby (*1949 in Los Angeles County) was an influential and important part of the Latin rock scene in Los Angeles from the late 1960s to the 2000s. He was a founding member of El Chicano. At a young age he was influenced by Salsa music in a big way.
In the 1960s he was a member of East L.A. Surf group Mickey & The Invaders playing organ. He left the band in the mid 1960s to join the VIPs, a Chicano band. In 1969, the VIPs evolved into what became known as El Chicano. For forty years, Espinosa was a force in the group. He also produced and wrote some of their material. He also played on every recording the group made. The recognizable sound of El Chicano mainly came from Espinosa's B-3 organ and the Wes Montgomery styled guitar playing of Mickey Lespron.
In the 1980s legal argument between Espinosa and fellow co-founder Mickey Lespron developed. This was over the ownership of the El Chicano name. As a result, there was a temporary halt on the group's career and the discontinuation of their association with Columbia.
In 1998, the album Painting the Moment was released. Even though the album is credited with the El Chicano name, it is regarded as a solo album by Espinosa. In later years he guested on some artists recordings including Si Se Puede recorded in 1996 by Tapestree, a group made up of veterans of the L.A. music scene. Also the debut album by Thee Rhythm Kings, Killing Time. In 2003, he was at one of Gilbert Esquivel's shows in his early days in Hollywood. He was on stage with Chicano singer Rocky Padilla, Sal Rodriguez from the group WAR and Isaac Avila from Tierra. He was still playing music in spite of health issues right up until early 2010. He also played a concert at the Inland Empire with former bandmate and Tierra founder Rudy Salas at that time.
He has been inducted into the "Hammond Heroes" society. He at the time had the distinction of being the only Latin organist recognized for his blues, Latin and jazz style. Having been ill for some time, Espinosa died in 2010.
Kapp Records KS-3632
Little Mickey Lespron, guitar
Bobby Espinosa, organ
Freddie Sanchez, bass
John DeLuna, drums
Ersi Arvizu, percussion
Andre Baéza, congas
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