Rocky Morales

Rocky Morales, the creator of the West Side sound of San Antonio and the greatest most soulful tenor sax player I ever heard, has passed.

Sauce Gonzales called me with the news on Wednesday evening, August, 2, 2006.

Eracleo Morales died at 4:15 pm surrounded by friends and family.

Rocky first crossed my ears on the album The Return of Doug Saldana, Doug Sahm's homecoming tribute to El West Side de San Anto and the R&B sound that defined the most exotic barrio in all of Texas. Doug did a send up of "Wasted Days, Wasted Nights" dedicating the song to Freddy Fender "wherever you are". a shout out that led to Fender's rediscovery. But what made the song smoke the speakers was Doug calling for Rocky to play a solo in the "West Side tenor" style, which he invented. Morales proceeded to wail, peeling the paint off the walls of the room where I stood, rocking and dancing.

Rocky was the heart and soul of Doug's RnB sound. When I got to meet Rocky at Soap Creek Saloon a couple years later, I bought him and Richard "Eh Eh" Elizondo a bottle of Thunderbird wine and he turned me on to some heavy duty sax honking.

Rocky went on to tour Europe and the United States with Doug and his band, grace Joe "King" Carrasco's Tex-Mex Rock-Roll, which featured his own composition, "Funky Butt", play on Rick Danko's solo album, and star on the West Side Horns' San Quilmas album where he played sax and sung lead on two Jimmy Reed compositions--no one alive raved up Jimmy Reed better.

It's too damn quiet with Rocky having left the room.

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