IN THEE MIDNITE HOUR!!!! - Thee Midniters (Norton)
As varied as the ’60s East LA Chicano culture they came from, Thee Midniters’ sound combined elements of Latin music, blues, soul and rock ’n’ roll. The diversity can be heard on Thump’s excellent 2002 comp, "Thee Midniters Greatest". But if you want the component that weighed most heavily into their sound, and the one that really earned ’em legendary status, then check out this baby on Norton- which concentrates solely on Thee Midniters at their rocking best.

Repeating just seven of the 20 songs on "Greatest, In Thee Midnite Hour!!!!" is mandatory listening for anyone who digs raunchy mid-’60s rock rolled in a greasy corn tortilla and slathered in hot sauce. These were the songs that rocked East LA and made ’em sweat. Instrumentally, they gave us the anthemic "Whittier Blvd." and its sequel "Down Whittier Blvd.", plus the down ’n’ dirty R&B groove of "Dragon-Fly" and the hyped-up insanity of "Thee Midnite Feeling" (check out the screaming guitar solo).

Vocally, they spiced up covers like "Gloria" and the Stones’ "Empty Heart" and ruled supreme in the realm of originals. Playing their own stuff, they unloaded like a Don Drysdale brush-back pitch on tracks like "Love Special Delivery" (nice blaring horns), the funky "I Found a Peanut," the firecracker drumming on "Jump, Jive and Harmonize," and the burned-out, pissed-off lament of "my father was an alky and my mother was no good" in the simmering "Never Knew I Had It So Bad."

It took years to get a legit comp of Thee Midniters, and it took even longer for someone to scoop up all of their greatest rockers from four albums and various singles. Both CD comps are great, but if you’re forced to choose, this is the one to pick up. - Doug Sheppard