March 3rd, 2008
East Los Angeles Record Producer, Rudy Benavides who was instrumental during the 60s in establishing the West Coast Eastside Sound along with Rampart Records founder, Eddie Davis, passed away on Sunday March, 2nd at White Memorial Hospital from congestive heart failure. He was 67 years old.
Rudy started his career in the record industry working along side legendary Radio Disc Jockey, Dick “Huggie Boy” Hugg at Flash Record Store in South Central Los Angeles, California.
In a 2006 interview, Rudy recalled;
“I started at Flash Records in 1959 fresh out of Garfield High School. It was late one night and I was listening to the radio when I heard some DJ say, ‘C’mon down to our big front window on the corner of Jefferson & Western…..Flash Record Store’.
So, I called up a friend and we drove down there.
The first (1st) time that I went to Flash Records, I spent a little over $300.00 on 45 single R&B records…..that’s what I was into at that time. About two (2) months later when I went back, Mr. Charles Reynolds the owner said to me, ‘Boy, I could use someone like you to work here, can you start tomorrow’???? So, he hired me as Huggie Boy’s assistant. Huggie would broadcast Live from the record store on AM radio station KALI.
I would come in every night at 10:00pm and Huggie would broadcast from midnight to 5:00am. Since I was the only Chicano working in the store, Huggie Boy nicknamed me, ‘The Latin Lover of Flash Records’. DJ Godfrey Kerr and I later became the fill in DJ’s when Huggie became ill for a few days. It was so exciting, but I was very nervous especially since I knew that Huggie Boy was listening to my show. He said I did pretty good.”
In 1964, when Record Producer, Eddie Davis released “Land of 1000 Dances” by Cannibal & the Headhunters on his Rampart Record label, he couldn’t get the record played on Los Angeles AM Radio Station KRLA who was favoring Thee Midniter’s version on Chattahoochee Records.
Eddie went to visit Rudy at Flash Record Store to get his advice!
Rudy played the record and after listening carefully, he explained to Davis that in his opinion, the introduction was way too long and that the song needed to come right in on the groove with the, “Naa, Na, Na, Na, Naa”.
Eddie Davis went to Recording Engineer, Bruce Morgan at Stereo Masters Studio who edited out the intro and faded in on the Naa, Na, Na, Na, Naa’s and the rest is musical history. The version by Cannibal & the Headhunters when to the Top 30 on the National Billboard Charts in 1965 and the group went on to open for the Motown Revue, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.
Thus began a long association with Rudy Benavidas, Eddie Davis and Rampart Records until Davis’s passing in 1994. Rudy is credited as an Associate Producer for Rampart Records on several recordings including, The Village Callers, El Chicano, Eastside Connection, Topazz and Graciela Palafox.
Rudy was forever concerned with bringing joy and help to others.
He will be deeply missed by the East Los Angeles Musical Community.
Hector A. Gonzalez / Owner