The back of the record reads: “Dedicated to all the beautiful brown people everywhere…our statement is heavy.”
Released in 1979, Lowrider Ball Live is an album of live events that took place in San Jose, California in the mid-to-late ‘70s. These “balls” gathered more than 100 car-clubs throughout the country, celebrating cars and music, and calling for an end to violence and drugs that plagued the community. It was held at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, a spot that today holds flea markets and tradeshows (and where the new 49ers’ stadium is in consideration to be built).
This record is especially meaningful for two reasons: 1) It features a rare version of the Mary Wells’ jam, “You Beat Me To The Punch”. It’s a clean live recording and totally kills. The other standout, “Brothers And Sisters Lowriding Around”, written and performed by The San Jose Lowrider Band, starts with a skit about police harassment before leaning into a huge bassline. I dig the fact that the one (known) recording by cats who called themselves “The San Jose Lowrider Band” is a straight funk song. And 2) NERDTORIOUS is based in the South Bay Area, Santa Clara/San Jose to be exact, two places that aren’t exactly synonymous with funk and soul. This right here is local history. And it’s funky. Hear the liveliness:
CLICK TO HEAR: MARY WELLS’ “YOU BEAT ME TO THE PUNCH (RARE LIVE VERSION)”