Dear Mexican: Why do so many cholos like the song "I'm Your Puppet" by James & Bobby Purify? Is there something about this song or is it all oldies they like?
Dear Gabacho: It ain't just cholos who are down with oldies-but-goodies. Mexican-Americans of all social classes have largely kept alive that particular music genre—the brown-eyed soul of Thee Midniters and Sonny and the Sunliners, long-forgotten R&B artists like The Penguins and Billy Stewart that aren't crazy enough for hipsters to worship ala Esquerita and the Five Du-Tones, but still too threatening to oldies fans whose idea of soul is The Crew Cuts doing "Sh-Boom." Oldies-but-goodies speak to the softer side of machismo—match up "The Town I Live In" with "Canción Mixteca," and you'll find they're one and the mismo.
But rather than me trying to explain further to gabachos why Mexicans are so into oldies, let's turn to the man who devoted his life to keeping the genre alive: legendary DJ Art Laboe!
"I think it has to do with the lyrics," Laboe told The Mexican, referring to "I'm Your Puppet." "If you listen to the song, it says: "I'll do funny things if you want me to, I'm your puppet,' so [that] means ... I'll do whatever you want me do to, I love you so much I'll do whatever you say.... I believe that is why [guys] like that song.
"It's actually in the lyrics of the song," Laboe continued. "I'll do anything, I'm just a puppet and you hold my string, I'm your puppet.'" Guys often have trouble revealing their feelings and this song lets them do that. Through the years, "I'm Your Puppet" has been one of our most requested songs on The Art Laboe Connection (which broadcasts Monday-Friday 7 p.m.-midnight, and Sunday 6 p.m. Pacific Time on KOKO94.com, on the smartphone Tune In radio app via KDUC, check ArtLaboe.com for the many radio stations in the Southwest and times)."
WOW ... Art Laboe in ¡Ask a Mexican! This column has finally hit its zenith—and since it's all downhill from here, Art, I'd like to dedicate "The Agony and the Ecstasy" to my sad girl: journalism.
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org. be his fan on Facebook. follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!