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"Brown-Eyed Soul: The Sound of East L.A." (Rhino Records) is a three-CD set aimed at showing a portion of that musical diversification. Produced and compiled by Tom Waldman and David Reyes, coauthors of an upcoming book titled "Land of a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock & Roll in Southern California" (University of New Mexico Press), "Brown-Eyed Soul" shows the passionate love the local Latino community has for what we East Coasters would consider obscure R&B songs. These are tunes - mostly ballads - that are passed on from generation to generation. In the transfer process sweet-voiced singers such as Brenton Wood - represented here by the three tracks "Catch You on the Rebound," "Baby You Got It" and "Me and You" - become nothing less than neighborhood superstars.
Undoubtedly, as "Brown-Eyed Soul" shows, in East L.A. doo-wop rules. Practically all of the ballads here showcase that street-corner harmony style. From the yearning sounds of the Turks' "I'm a Fool" to the earnest crooning of future "Hustle" maestro Van McCoy on "Mr. D.J.," "Brown-Eyed Soul" is a vocal fest.