In Rotation: The Mixtures’ ‘Stompin’ at the Rainbow’
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With apologies to the Who, who coined the term, the music that the Mixtures made in the Southland in the early 1960s can best be described as “maximum r&b.” The hard-driving sound is captured on “Stompin’ at the Rainbow: The Complete Mixtures,” a release of the Oxnard six-piece’s collected work between 1962 and 1964, as well as a live recording from the Rainbow Gardens, a Pomona club that brought famed acts such as Perez Prado, Roy Orbison, and Frankie Avalon. The Mixtures were the backing band at the Rainbow, and honed their skills playing every Friday night.
As a musical document, “Stompin’ at the Rainbow” isn’t revolutionary; the Mixtures were no better or worse than any number of bands playing early ‘60s R&B at the time. But as a document of a unique cultural collision, it’s fascinating. The “mixture” of their name was literal. While the American south was embroiled in civil rights struggles, the Mixtures, comprised of Hispanic, black, white and Native American members, were performing for a remarkably integrated audience. “We had Hispanics, we had blacks, we had Asians, we had everything. Rainbow Gardens fit perfectly,” says Mixtures saxophonist Delbert Franklin in the liner notes. Also included are the band’s dozen studio tracks, which are grittier, deeper, and more menacing than the live recording.
“Stompin’ at the Rainbow”