Brooklyn-based Big Crown Records opened its doors a year ago and was founded by producer and multi-instrumentalist Leon Michels (El Michels Affair, The Arcs, Chicano Batman) and DJ Danny Akalepse. In celebration of their first year, Big Crown kicked off a monthly vinyl release series, which will culminate in a compilation album to be issued later this year.
Sunny & The Sunliners, formed in 1959, are the oldest draw in the Big Crown vinyl series. The Texas-based band brought influences of rhythm and blues, tejano, blues, and mariachi to their sound. The 7-piece band of chicanos (sans Amos Johnson Jr.), were somewhat pioneers, releasing their first single on their own label (Sunglow Records) in 1962 until they were picked up by the legendary Okeh label and later Tear Drop Records. The band found chart success by covering other singers’ songs, including Little Willie John (“Talk to Me, Talk to Me”); Tony Bennett (“Rags to Riches”); The Five Keys (“Out Of Sight-Out of Mind”); and The Peanuts (“La Cacahuata”).
On this double sider, Sunny & The Sunliners have “Should I Take You Home,” a love ballad based on a young man taking his date home late to her parents and the fear it brings. On the flip side is “My Dream,” a song of loneliness from a guy pining for his lover. Both songs are rich with harmony and smooth soul sounds but fail to really engage the listener.