Pedro J. González and Los Madrugadores
Los Madrugadores 1931-1937
Los Hermanos Sanchez y Linares, Chicho y Chencho

Arhoolie (

cd cover These are the historic first recordings of Pedro J. González and Los Madrugadores ("the early risers"). Their immense popularity grew from daily radio broadcasts at dawn to the marginalized working-class Mexican-American communities of Los Angeles, and jukebox exposure and record sales in farm-worker communities throughout Depression-era southern California. The music's sonorous vocal harmonies and brightly arpeggiated steel-string guitar are manifest, covering a range of folk and contemporary Mexican canciones and corridos, along with original González compositions.

"Que tendré Yo?"
But this is more than pleasing music. González used his talents and airwave access to agitate for social justice for Spanish speakers in the southwest, predictably running afoul of white authority. In 1934, in full career, he was framed on concocted charges that brought six years' imprisonment, prompting Los Madrugadores to respond with "Corrido de Pedro J. González" (which closes the CD). Deported to Mexico in 1940, González resumed his radio persona in Tijuana, broadcasting across the border for the next thirty years. Readmitted to the United States in 1970, he lived another quarter century, long enough to see his life fêted in a PBS documentary and a Hollywood film. The album's thorough research and documentary photos, Arhoolie hallmarks, place González's resonant musical talents in the antagonistic political context of their cultural genesis, making this attentively restored title an essential addition to Mexican-American discography and social history. - Michael Stone

Audio: "Que tendré Yo?" (E. Cabreara) as by Los Hermanos Sanchez
Arhoolie CD 7035
© 2000 Arhoolie Records

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