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Vinyl: Listen to These Rare Vintage ‘Powerful’ Corridos Commemorating Ruben Salazar, Killed by Police in 1970

10:11 AM PDT on August 27, 2020

[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]his Saturday will mark the 50th anniversary of the day Ruben Salazar was killed by a Sheriff in East Los Angeles while he reported on the historic Chicano Moratorium marches for the LA Times. 

L.A. Taco reader and vinyl collector Matt Kelly took it upon himself to upload a vintage seven-inch album immortalizing Salazar in corrido form to Youtube last week. The artist is Lalo Guerrero, the trailblazing Mexican American guitarist from the American Southwest known as the “Father of Chicano Music.”

A grave miscarriage of justice occurred when Ruben Salazar was killed (and the extraordinary efforts that took place to protect the LASD officer from punishment), Kelly tells L.A. Taco. He stumbled upon the rare record that is not even listed on Discogs while thumbing through bins at the Pasadena City College Record Swap. “I feel these powerful ballads help keep the story of Mr. Salazar and the Chicano Movement alive.” 

Just as the newer Kobe Bryant’s corrido honoring the icon and other modern-day “trap corrido” romanticizing both the highs and lows of life, the goosebumps-inducing lyrics on both of Guerrero’s corridos honoring Salazar are filled with vivid imagery and existential rhymes. "La Tragedia del 29 de Agosto" includes an eerie moment of silence for Salazar followed by the sobering trumpet ballad, “The Last Post.” The song ends with a passionate decree on mortality and demand for Salazar’s death to not go in vain.

In a time when Los Angeles continues to see the killings of Black and Brown people and the streets are still filled with thousands of protestors demanding justice and accountability, the spirit behind Salazar’s corrido still resonates deeply. 

“You can literally hear the pain and rage in Lalo's voice as he laments about that tragic day on August 29, 1970,” Kelly says. 

“It's a powerful ballad.”

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