East Side Story LP records

Compilation set of “oldies” for the lowrider community

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Originally released in the late 1970s, East Side Story is a 12-volume compilation set of 1950s–1960s “oldies” that featured photos of lowriders for the album covers. The set was dedicated to and created for lowriders. The producer felt the music embodied the essence of what it was to be a lowrider.

This record set, and others like it, belonged to Charlie Salinas, a member of the lowrider community in San Antonio. Music is an integral part of lowrider culture. Whether working in the garage, going to lowrider picnics at the park, or cruising the streets on a Sunday night, a soundtrack is needed to set the mood. Salinas listened to this music while building his lowrider at home and took the records and his Technics record player to meetups for everyone to enjoy. His daughter Holly explains: “My father’s records are typical music played at any Lowrider event. The music is deeply rooted in the soul of the Lowrider community.”

The compilation series featured an assortment of music ranging from Doo-Wop to Soul and Funk. Initially released on 8-Track tapes, the East Side Story series was popular with young lowriders in California. Vinyl and cassette formats were manufactured throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s as its popularity grew and spread to lowrider clubs throughout the Southwest. The series was rereleased as a vinyl box set for its 40th anniversary.

Volume 12 included “Smile Now, Cry Later” by Sunny & The Sunliners. Sunny Ozuna, from San Antonio, pioneered Chicano Soul music in Texas and the hit song, “Smile Now, Cry Later,” became an anthem for lowrider culture and a slogan of the community. The saying and the album’s iconic theater mask is an especially popular tattoo in the lowrider community.

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East Side Story LP records Artifact from San Antonio, TX
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