Calexico: I'm sure most of us are familiar with this great local band. I think I first became aware of them between ten and fifteen years ago. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I swear they used to hire themselves out for weddings (or maybe just the weddings of some really cool people!) I'm more partial to their older stuff, although I'm really enjoying the new one, Algiers. Some of my favorite albums of theirs include The Black Light (1998), Hot Rail (2000), and Carried To Dust (2008), which is probably my favorite.
Luminarios: I'll admit I have a bias towards this group because my brother used to play with them and appears on the album Dumpster of Love (1995). My favorite track of off that album is Time Waits For No One, an instrumental.
Sand Rubies (also known as Sidewinders): Locals of a certain age remember this band very well, which included David Slutes (now the entertainment director at Club Congress), Mark Perrodin, Bruce Halper and Rich Hopkins, who now heads up The Luminarios. They were the hottest thing going for a number of years and actually signed a major label record deal. (I think the band members have said that's pretty much when things started to fall apart.) It's unfortunate that we don't have much from them in our collection, especially what many consider to be their most popular album, Witchdoctor (1988). And of course there's Cuacha! (my brother's favorite), Auntie Ramos' Pool Hall (1990), and their big label debut, the self titled Sand Rubies (1993). If you do some searching on Amazon you can find these titles.
The Pedestrians: This group was before my time, but thanks to Rich Hopkins, a cd of a live performance of theirs is available for all of us to enjoy, titled An Evening at Pearl's Hurricane. If you read the liner notes included in the cd you can find out how this album came to be along with a trip down memory lane to Tucson in 1979. Do you remember the Embers on Speedway? (Actually, I do remember that bar!) How about Choo Choo's on 4th Avenue? Or the aforementioned Pearl's Hurricane on Broadway?
I'd love to hear from some of you long-time Tucsonans about the old days....my cousin said to me while we were standing in front of The Surly Wench recently, "Hey! This place used to be the old Night Train bar...I saw the Go-Go's here before they were the Go Go's!" Some band names that might trigger your memory: Giant Sand, Shoe Bomb, Gentlemen After Dark, Starcrunch, River Roses, and Fish Karma. Waiting to hear from you!