UNDER-APPRECIATED ROCK BAND OF THE MONTH FOR JANUARY 2011: HACIENDA
Which brings me at long last to this month’s band: San Antonio’s HACIENDA, a Spanish word for a residential estate or plantation. As is often true of Latino bands, Hacienda is a family affair that was formed by Abraham Villaneuva (piano/vocals) and his cousin Dante Schwebel (guitar/vocals) and later added Abraham’s brothers, Jaime Villaneuva (drums/vocals) and Rene Villaneuva (bass/vocals).
Hacienda has two albums on Alive Records to their credit, Loud is the Night (2008) and Big Red and Barbacoa (2010). The first album includes a lovely cover of one of Sonny and Cher’s earliest hits, “Baby Don’t Go” – “Baby Don’t Go” was actually released before the duo’s signature hit “I Got You Babe” just after they stopped recording under the name Caesar and Cleo. I am not sure exactly what the title of the second album means, but “Big Red” and “Barbacoa” are the names of two instrumentals that would have closed each side if the album was released as an LP. Like their first album, the new record includes one cover among their self-penned songs, an Everly Brothers song that I was not familiar with called “You’re My Girl”. Both albums are excellent, but the second is more self-assured and seamless in its sound.
I was introduced to the band when Suzy Shaw, who manages Bomp! Records’ online Bomp! mailorder business (among other duties) included three recent releases in one of my usual orders of decades-old music. Besides the second Hacienda album, she also included a delightful psychedelic stew of an album by Mondo Drag called New Rituals; and Brian Olive’s debut solo album, Brian Olive. Olive (ex-Soledad Brothers) is one of those amazing men – like Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Nikki Sudden – to whom songwriting is as natural as breathing; he is working on a second album already. Although I very much enjoyed the albums that I had ordered, I found myself playing these new artists again and again. Anyway, it surely worked, for I have a nice stack of new CD’s and LP’s released by the Bomp labels that I have since ordered.
Hacienda caught the attention of Dan Auerbach of the acclaimed blues-rock band the Black Keys, who produced both of their albums. One of Bomp’s recent coups was releasing the first album by this band in 2002 called The Big Come-Up; the new Black Keys album, Brothers is one of the standout albums of 2010, landing a Grammy nomination and a #2 ranking on the 2010 Albums of the Year by Rolling Stone, and even making Time Magazine’s list of Best of 2010 in Music.
How to describe Hacienda’s music has been a problem for me though. Because of their 1960’s sensibility and love of harmony vocals, they are often compared with familiar bands from that era – even their website says: “Think the Beach Boys meet the Everly Brothers”. That’s a cute headline but isn’t really helpful in terms of a description: If I were writing about the Everly Brothers, I certainly wouldn’t say, “They are a lot like the Beach Boys” – or Gram Parsons, or The Band, or any of the other artists that I have heard mentioned.
As I have thought it over though, I realize that Hacienda sounds more like by the Premiers than anyone else I can think of, so maybe it is a special Chicano sound that they have. I had originally brought up the latter band as a device to start talking about Chicano rock bands – and as a way to write a tribute to one of my very, very favorite albums. In any case, “Farmer John” is not to be missed, so I have included a link to a YouTube video of the original 45 of this great song: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qz5Ax30T-E . (I am not positive that this is the one that was on Nuggets, but it probably is, though the odd introduction about “Has anybody seen Kosher Pickled Herring?” is omitted).
Also, not surprisingly I suppose, Hacienda is the first of the Under-Appreciated Rock Bands to have a Facebook site, and here that is: www.facebook.com/haciendamusic .
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Flashback: The Under-Appreciated Rock Band of the Month for January 2011 – HACIENDA
Since this post, Hacienda released a third album in 2012, Shakedown. Dan Auerbach has been involved with their albums from the beginning, producing both of their first two releases, Loud is the Night and Big Red and Barbacoa. This time out, Auerbach also co-writes the songs with the bandmembers. I haven’t picked up their third album yet; but Allmusic complains that this time, Dan Auerbach is beginning to overshadow the band’s own personality with that of his band, the Black Keys.
Several YouTube videos by Hacienda are available. Here is a music video for the opening track on their first album, Loud is the Night, “She’s Got a Hold on Me” that is an ideal introduction to their style: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEHVMiGEh4w . This video is of a song from their second album, “Younger Days”: www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo09-bn8TjY . And here is a video of a song from their new album called “Savage”: www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=nB0-1IjSlxY&feature=fvwp .
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Picture Gallery #1: The Under-Appreciated Rock Band of the Month for January 2011 –HACIENDA
These are the band’s first two albums on Alive Records that I have:
This third album I do not have as yet:
This is a group shot of the band:
Here is the band in concert:
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Here is a rundown of the 2010-2011 Under-Appreciated Rock Bands/Artists of the Month for the past year:
December 2010 – THE POPPEES, 1970’s Beatlesque power pop band (compilation album)
January 2011 – HACIENDA, active 2010’s Chicano rock band (two albums)
February 2011 – THE WANDERERS, 1980’s apocalyptic punk rock band (one album)
March 2011 – INDEX, legendary 1960’s psychedelic rock band (two albums)
April 2011 – BOHEMIAN VENDETTA, 1960’s garage rock band (one album plus compilation album)
May 2011 – THE LONESOME DRIFTER, 1960’s rockabilly singer (compilation album)
June 2011 – THE UNKNOWNS, 1970’s first-wave punk rock band (two albums plus compilation album)
July 2011 – THE RIP CHORDS, 1960’s surf rock band (two albums)
August 2011 – ANDY COLQUHOUN, active 1980’s-2010’s psychedelic rock guitarist (two albums)
September 2011 – ULTRA, 1970’s old-fashioned hard rock band (compilation albums)
October 2011 – JIM SULLIVAN, 1960’s country-rock singer-songwriter (two albums)
November 2011 – THE UGLY, 1970’s first-wave Canadian punk rock band (compilation album)
(Year 2 Review)