San Antonio lost one of its true musical giants last week when tenor-sax powerhouse Rocky Morales passed away on August 2 at the age of 65 after a long battle with cancer.
Morales was one of Doug Sahm's favorite creative accomplices, working with the legendary Sir Douglas off-andon for four decades. As a founding member of the West Side Horns, Morales played a central role in one of the great horn sections of the rock era, contributing to a much-admired 1977 solo album by Band bassist Rick Danko, the pioneering early sessions by Joe "King" Carrasco, and the crossover miracle known as the Texas Tornados. Like Sahm, Morales brought a sense of authenticity to everything he played, a South-Texas sense of soul that Sahm always returned to, whether he was playing outlaw country, psychedelic pop, Tex-Mex rock, or uptown blues. Morales is simply irreplaceable.
THE REAL MEMPHIS MAFIA
Although they didn't release their first official album until 1995's Mystic Stylez, Three 6 Mafia have been working in the rap game since the early '90s, when they were know as Triple 6 Mafia and produced a Dirty South version of horrorcore.
Over their surprisingly lengthy career, the prolific group has changed lineups several times, outlasted foes such as Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and released a slew of albums and side projects. The Memphis pioneers recently made history as the first rap group to perform at the Academy Awards and the second rap act to win an Oscar (Marshall Mathers accomplished that feat first with the vastly overrated "Lose Yourself"). That accomplishment and the group's post-Oscar pursuits make for one of the most intriguing hip-hop career paths in recent memory.
DJ Paul, Juicy J, and whoever they choose to work with on that particular day will visit San Antonio as part of Beat Bash 1, scheduled for Sunday, August 13, at the AT&T Center. Also performing are Houston phenom Chamillionaire, crooner Brown Boy, and Atlanta's Young Jac, among others. For more information visit Thebeatsa.com. - GILBERT GARCIA AND M. SOLIS