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The History And Impact Of San Antonio's Often Overlooked 'West Side Sound'

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This episode will re-air on Thursday, December 24, 2020.

Despite little national popularity, the genre of music known as the "West Side Sound" was a distinctly San Antonio and South-Central Texas cultural phenomenon.

Sweet, soulful sounds distilled from intercultural mash-ups in the 50s, 60s and 70s blended seemingly disparate genres such as rhythm and blues, early rock, conjunto, country, swamp pop, and more.

Contrary to its name, the "West Side Sound" did not actually originate on the West Side of San Antonio and is not a singular sound that can be easily categorized.

What is the "West Side Sound" and how does it fit into San Antonio's cultural identity? What are the genre's social, cultural and historical roots? What was its impact on mainstream popular music?

Guest: Alex La Rotta, music historian and author of the dissertation “Talk to Me: The History of San Antonio’s West Side Sound"

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview originally aired on Monday, January 20, 2020.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi
Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.