¡ASK A MEXICAN!
By Gustavo Arellano
Not Crazy about Quds
Dear Gabacho: Of course it’s possible, but we’re really not going to know until we find out, right? American officials have gone on the record as stating drug cartels have established ties with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah yet haven’t offered conclusive proof (and that rumor you heard about Al Qaeda establishing camps in Mexico to train terrorists to look like my Tío Lencho? Pinche false). But I don’t think the cartels are so pendejo to assist terrorists hell-bent on destroying America from within—after all, they already have that market to themselves.
Some years ago we attended a family reunion in Cuba, New Mexico where the Mexican branch of the family put on a skit and they used a recording of a song but it has gone missing and we all would love to find a source to purchase this song. The family says it was an old 45 rpm record but they can’t find it now and don’t know who the artist was. It’s a gas of a song and if you’ve never heard it before, I would bet you would have a good laugh over it. The song is about a young Mexican boy who falls in love with a girl [can’t remember her name.] His Daddy tells the boy he can’t marry the girl so the boy asks the Daddy why. The Daddy replies something like “Maria is your sister but your Mama don’t know.” In frustration the boy goes over and cries to his Mama about the situation and the song ends with the Mama smirking and telling the son not to worry because “Your Daddy’s not your Daddy but your Daddy don’t know.”
A friend suggested the song might be titled “Hey, Pepito” but we’re just not sure. Perhaps in your travels, or over the radio audience you might be able to help me find the correct title and maybe even a source to obtain the track.
A Mexican New Mexican
Dear Wabette: The name of the canción your family played is called “Ay Pepito!” because that’s the memorable chorus of the song (and the girl you mentioned was Marie). The performer was Baby Gaby, part of the Sanchez dynasty of New Mexican music headed by the legendary Al Hurricane (who once played at one of your humble Mexican’s book signings in ABQ). But the song’s real name is “Shame and Scandal in the Family,” and Gaby most likely covered the version sung by Mexican-American artist Trini Lopez. Lopez, in turned, joined legendary American recording artists like the Stylistics and Johnny Cash in covering a song called “Shame and Scandal” recorded by ska and reggae titans ranging from the Skatalites to the Wailers (with Peter Tosh in the lead). They, in turn, were giving their spin to a calypso classic originally grabada by Sir Lancelot in the 1940s. And if you think Mexicans taking inspiration from calypso is strange, you obviously don’t know the similarly tangled history of “Esa Chica Me Vacila” (“That Chick Teases Me”), the techno-banda favorite by Banda Vallarta Show, a remake of the punta ditty “Ella Me Vacila” (“She Teases Me”) by Grupo Kazzabe, itself taken from “Lady Teaser” by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, who got his inspiration for the track from the soca standard “Teaser” by Becket. Back to Baby Gaby: Give him credit for Mexicanizing the song by crooning the lyrics in a Jose Jimenez accent and giving the previously nameless character of the tale the nombre Pepito, proving that there are some New Mexicans not afraid of their Mexican roots.