THE SOUNDS OF YOUNG LOS ANGELES

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Cold Duck: Cold Duck (On Ice)
Folk: A Helping Hand
L&M Jazz Quartet: Serenade to a Chicken Wing
The Profits: Fantasy of Love
All from Like People: The Sounds of Young Los Angeles (SOYLA, 197?)

I had been after this LP for a few years now, ever since first seeing at the Groove Merchant, back in the day. It was the cover art; there was something so enticing about how everyone was standing at the top of that canyon, combined with a flip on the old Motown slogan, “The Sound of Young America,” now adapted for L.A.

It’s hard to find much on this LP at all. SOYLA was, apparently, a youth-oriented non-profit and this was a compilation album of different teen musicians who were part of the organization. That already makes it a rather cool project, especially given the range of different styles you can hear on here: folk, rock, funk, jazz, soul…hence the “sounds” of young Los Angeles, rather than some singular “sound.”

I turned to Andy Zax since he actually has one of the photo proofs of the cover image (jealous!). Here’s what he had to say about the LP:

most of what I know is conjecture based on a few facts…The album was made with the help of a bunch of music-biz people who donated time and costs. (Capitol did the artwork in-house, and they probably pressed it at well; judging by the scarcity, it must have been a _really_ small run. I’d guess maybe 500 copies; certainly not more than a thousand.) The really alluring thing about it is that cover photograph, which evokes the vibe of LA in 1971 like almost nothing else. I was in kindergarten or first grade at the time, and those kids look exactly like all the other impossibly-older-looking post-hippie kids I used to see wandering around in Westwood Village or on the UCLA campus.

I included what I thought was a representative sample off the LP. “Cold Duck (On Ice)” by Cold Duck was a fairly straight forward jazz/rock/funk fusion track; horns are a bit reminiscent of Jimmy Castor or Kool and the Gang from the late ’60s/early ’70s.

Folk initially sounds a bit twee; very “canyon” in feel until the drummer decides to start crushing the session. Pity this is mixed rather low and muddy. It’d be cool to remaster this with the drums more in the foreground, with a cleaner sound. Apart from having one of the better jazz titles I’ve ever seen, “Serenade to a Chicken Wing” slides on a nice, laid back groove. Very 3am in vibe.

My favorite song is (of course) the slow jam: “Fantasy of Love” by The Profits. Unfortunately, the LP included no info on the groups themselves but by their sound, I’d have to assume these were some Eastsiders, trying to mint their own firme fola on this one. The fact that these are likely a bunch of teenagers just increases its lo-fi charms.

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8 comments to THE SOUNDS OF YOUNG LOS ANGELES

  • Chunkyrice

    Digging the L&M Jazz Quartet tune, cool title too! Great post as usual.

  • Dan Boyd

    HI, I was happy to get to your site. SOYLA is still up and running. I would like to hear from you and the groups who played on the album. I am the founder and director of the sounds of young los angeles. let talks. we’re planing on releasing new material very soon. I enjoyed your writeup.
    Danny Boyd

  • Hi Everyone!
    I played organ on “Fantasy of Love” for the ‘Profits’ and I’d like to share information that has never been revealed about the band and the recording. First of all, it is amazing that after all these years, “Fantasy of Love” is remembered because I have never heard it played on any radio station. Thanks to all who have kept it going.

    The correct name of the band is the Prophets, a 10-piece R&B horn band, that played the L.A. dance circuit from 1969 until the year it disbanded in 1971. The band split into two groups, the U.N. and Carry On. The Prophets were enormously popular among the Asian-American dance crowd playing at dances at Rodger Young Auditorium, Parkview Womens’ Club, and was the house band at Japanese Village and Deer Park. The ethnic make-up of the band was six Japanese-American, one Chinese, one Hispanic, one Pole, and one African-American, truly an international mix. The age range of the band members was 14-26. Their sound was powerful and memorable.

    The band members were: John Hubbard, vocals; Tom Sunjka, vocals; Johnny Sanchez, lead vocals; David Honjio, vocals and trumpet; Gordon Young, valve trombone; Johnny Torigoe, sax; Ken Ito, keyboards; Denis Hotta, bass; Michael Hotta, guitar; Ricky Ichimura, drums.

    A representative from SOYLA approached the band and asked us to record two original songs. Since the band was principally a cover band, the band asked if any band member had an original it could do. Johnny Sanchez, one of the band’s lead singers offered up “Fantasy of Love”. The horn section composed their parts the week before the session, background vocals were also worked out, and the song was recorded in a couple of takes in Studio A at Capitol Records. The other song we recorded that did not make it onto the album was Blood, Sweat and Tears’ “Lucretia McEvil”. That’s why “Fantasy of Love” is labeled Parts 1 & 2 because every band was supposed to get two songs on the album.

    The lovely trumpet solo was played by David Honjio who is now a successful chiropractor in San Fernando.

    Six of the original band members are still playing together in an 11-piece horn band called Carry On.

    If anyone out there would like to hear this song performed live by the original band with the original vocals by Johnny Sanchez, email us. Or tell Art Laboe you’d like to hear us at one of his Oldies shows. The band still sounds amazing.

  • Debbie Croft

    So happy to find this information. Johnny Sanchez who wrote & recorded “Fantasy of Love” is my brother-in-law. Have been family since 1966 when he use to practice in the alley behind his house in San Pedro…what awesome memories. I am still in contact with him & when I can I still follow the band he is in now “The Topics”.

  • Dear Dan,

    Is there a way to get in touch with you via email?

    Would love to talk to you about the history of SOYLA.

    Hope this reaches you!

    Take care.

    PHIL

  • Hi!

    My late Father George Semper (1/1/1942 – 1/9/2009) Produced SOYLA, Danny Boyd And The Sounds Of Young L.A. ‎– Single, Stop What You’re Doing To My World / Ecology Man.
    You can see more here;

    SOYLA
    https://www.discogs.com/Danny-Boyd-And-The-Sounds-Of-Young-LA-Stop-What-Youre-Doing-To-My-World-Ecology-Man/release/9778442

    George
    https://www.discogs.com/artist/282008-George-Semper?filter_anv=0&type=Credits

    I am searching for vids and happy to share with the group. FYI…I am archiving various original recordings you can hear at georgesemper.life and the “SOYLA” folder (tile) once available.

    Cheers!

    SemperFam

  • Hi Phil!

    I found this information for Dan Boyd. I’m reaching out to him as well for potential “first press” of some interesting material.

    This is their website (SOYLA)
    http://www.soundsofyoungla.com
    this is his listed email: yaleuni@hotmail.com

    Rebound!

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