Earlier this year, my friend My friend took a three-day trip down to Los Angeles.
He lived there several times, including a stretch in 1966.
He was drove a 1951 Ford Victoria in those days. He liked the rock clubs and hippie scene but he LOVED the Mexican music scene in East Los Angeles.
Los Lobos singing “Set Me Free (Rosa Lee)” is an anthem for my friend, especially these lines:
When I hit the road the time goes slow
Thinking about the places I used to go
With Rosa Lee
Why won’t you set me free?
They’re trying to close the Tu y Yo
The Latin Playboy and the Sky Room shows
Oh! Rosa Lee
Why don’t they let them be?
On this trip to LA he went to see what was left of the Tu y Yo, the Latin Playboy, and the Sky Room at Ricky’s Lounge.
The Ty y Yo today:
The Latin Playboy:
And the Sky Room at Ricky’s?
On the way back from Los Angeles, he stopped in Delano. He took a couple photos.
First, of the apartment where I first lived when I went to Delano in 1968.
And then of People’s Market, where I’d go for a can of frozen lemonade on weekends.
About the same as I remember them in 1968. Point taken. Some things have changed. Some things haven’t changed much. Neither change nor lack of change is inherently good or bad.
On his way back into town I met him for dinner at the Mexicali Rose in Oakland. We didn’t know that it would be the last time we ate there. It closed.
Back home, we settled in to listen to Little Joe y la Familia, remembering the Little Joe concerts we’d gone to together in the mid 1970s.
How would he sum up his trip to LA and Delano?