Monday, September 21, 2020

The Tex Mex band that tried to make 1980 fun

Joe "King" Carrasco and the Crowns : Buena

In the Fall of 1980 the Tex-Mex new wave band  Joe "King" Carrasco and the Crowns released their self-titled debut album in both the UK and the US. Stiff Records released the UK version while Hannibal Records released the American version. That album came under fire from Louisiana's  McIlhenny Company for altering the label on their tabasco sauce. Later prints of the album would have the bottle blacked out with a sharpie, the way a certain president hides his mistakes.

Carrasco is a master showman as Trouser Press' Scott Isler pointed out

The main argument against Joe "King" Carrasco seems to be that he's doing nothing original and his music has absolutely no redeeming social value. His critics may be justified within their standards, but they're missing the point -and a lot of fun. Would you expect relevance from a performer who wears an Imperial Margarine crown, an equally tacky cape, paisley or leopard skin pants and dirty sneakers? 

The band would join Any Trouble, Tenpole Tudor , The Equators  and Dirty Looks on the Son of Stiff  bus tour of Europe. Carrasco seemed to be having the most fun.

And Robert Christgau liked the American album enough to give it a grade of A-, writing:

Genuine punk Tex-Mex, Sir Doug meets Them meets the Shadows of Knight meets Sam the Sham, and the only problem is that the Ramones thought of it first: toons stripped down to their hooks, with Kris Cummings's friendly Farfisa doodles replacing Johnny's monomaniacal strum and echoes of polka and norteño in the jerky propulsion of the thing. Minimalism with roots, kind of--the irony in these calls to fun is a lot sweeter, a lot surer of its ground, than New Yorkers commonly get away with.

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