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The history and impact of San Antonio's often overlooked 'West Side Sound'

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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 mashups 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.

*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