“A priceless document, full of beautiful songs and the illusions of a group that will always be among the greats”
In concert and other unreleased recordings
RAMA LAMA MUSIC, 2021
Text: CÉSAR PRIETO.
In the music of our country, The Angels they were one of the most innovative and precise ensembles in their compositions and performances of the sixties and seventies. Also one of the most valued by critics and one of the most studied. However, they do not seem to have had the significance they deserve, nor to be welcomed by the public as one of the groups that belong to popular memory. Just as other contemporaries, such as Los Brincos, Los Bravos, Los Sírex and even Los Salvajes have a handful of songs that the average fan has as a cultural identity, in Los Angeles we have to settle for the ones that come out, always the same, in compilations of the time: “98.6” and “Tomorrow, tomorrow.”
On the other hand, they were the most versatile, capable of covering any genre, from the most melodic to an electric and piercing rawness. We will prove it, but first let’s see what we have. It consists of four blocks, the first of which is a concert on the radio that allows you to see how energetic his live shows. That’s where they take every imaginable path. The second, another concert, this one at the Varadero Festival in 1970, with a much more festive and holiday air. These are the two most coherent sets of songs, although the four versions of their songs in English are nonetheless. The most disjointed is, without a doubt, the one that presents demos, tests and first interpretations of his best-known hits on homemade tapes.
Obtaining all this material meanders through surprising trails. A fan from Granada, Rafael Casas Aranda, obtained in Madrid, at Discoplay, two collector’s vinyls with the group’s recordings. It is already the eighties. Back in Granada he learns that one of the members of the group, Agustín Rodríguez, runs a nightclub, and there he goes to have the records signed for him. Surprised and excited, he introduced him to Carlos Álvárez, the only one who —although with sequels— was saved in the accident that left us without the leader, Poncho, and the guitarist José Luis Avellaneda in 1976.
Friendship arises between them, and Carlos introduces him to all of Poncho’s family. With Carlos already very ill, on a visit he gives him two open-spool tapes containing this precious material, which the collector insists on bringing to a record edition.
It is other Los Angeles who act here. The versatile ones. In principle, they close the radio concert with the “Honky Tonk Woman” by The Rolling Stones and “Friday on my mind” by The Easybeats, something that may seem unusual in a group that has been associated with the sweetest melodies and harmonies games. vowels. But, in addition, there is a review of all the styles that were in vogue in those late sixties.
“Let me think about me” is pure manual blues rock and “Abre tu ventana” has an unmistakable Brazilian samba air. “Requiem” is part of the symphonic rock practiced by The Moody Blues or Pop-Tops and “Evolución (Listen to my music)” incorporates that funk destined for discotheques with which Barrabás triumphed worldwide. The rest, bits of summer air like “Cada día” or “Oho-aha”, which has all the texture that Los Diablos applied to their songs.
Of the unpublished versions in English, “I need you” surprises, beautiful and full of delicacy, at the level that Crosby, Still & Nash or James Taylor were then. The rehearsals offer, above all, with a poor sound quality —but testimonial to the maximum—, pieces that later became his hits, such as “Mónica”, but only hummed with a background of guitars. The song was beginning to be born. Also some unpublished, such as the farewell that Poncho wrote to Nino Bravo after his death in a car accident or —not unprecedented, but present for the first time on record— the “I don’t know what to do” that they sang in the movie “A 45 revolutions per minute ”and that a server has heard a few times in sixties and mods concentrations.
Definitely, an invaluable document, full of beautiful songs —when “Moments” sounds, it seems the most beautiful in the world— and the illusions of a group that, although somewhat forgotten, will always be among the greats.
We wish to say thanks to the writer of this post for this amazing material
In concert and other unreleased recordings, from Los Angeles