Song of the Week – Houston El Mover, Joe “King” Carrasco & The Crowns

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Back in the late 70s and early 80s, my college buddy Paul C. was spending a lot of time in New York City checking out new indie bands in the rock clubs. He gave me a copy of the B52s indie release of “Rock Lobster” b/w “52 Girls” at least a half year before their WB debut. (I still have my copy.)

Today’s SotW is “Houston El Mover” by another artist he turned me on to, Tex-Mex musician Joe “King” Carrasco & The Crowns. “Houston El Mover” is a fun party record. It was released during the height of the New Wave in 1981 and was quickly dubbed Nuevo Wavo.

The song uses the Tex-Mex template laid out by other Texan bands like Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs (“Wolly Bully”) and The Sir Douglas Quintet (“She’s About A Mover” and “Mendicino”) — fun loving, R&B based songs driven by a cheesy Farfisa organ sound.

You just can’t keep still when this song is playing.

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The original 45 rpm single “Party Weekend” b/w “Houston El Mover” was financed by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and helped the band to get early notices. From there they got on a bit of a roll. They earned a record contract, played dates in all of New York’s hottest clubs, did a European tour and were honored with an opportunity to perform on Saturday Night Live. The band even won kudos from the notoriously hard to please pen of Lester Bangs.

Enjoy… until next week.

3 thoughts on “Song of the Week – Houston El Mover, Joe “King” Carrasco & The Crowns

  1. I happen to know Paul C, and once spent a great several minutes reminiscing with him about Joe King live. My own favorite moment — at the now-destroyed Lone Star (a high rise is being built on the grounds0 warning people not to stay in his room at the Hotel Iroquois because it was haunted.

    Oh and the Youtube thumbnail shows the cover of a great album, the cover revealing all the wonderful uses of Texas red hot sauce — such as laundry (“Redder reds! Redder whites, too!”)

  2. I only saw “King” once, at the 9:30 club in Washington, decidedly after 9:30. He did the jumping on the bar thing, which always impresses, and I love Doug Sahm and the Farfisa and if I recall correctly the beer was cold. It was a fabulous show with lots of audience participation.

    An extra note: I don’t think Lester Bangs was hard to please, necessarily, but he did have a code. A level. A standard. And he correctly, I think, thought that the music was one thing, and the writer writing about the music was a different thing. Both should be the best they can be, even if that makes them hate each other. He was kind of fearless that way, it seemed.

  3. I have highly mixed feelings about Lester Bangs. No question he was passionate, funny, and a helluva writer. He was not nearly as infected with Critic’s Disease – valuing novelty and working off publicity hooks – as most of his kind.

    But his big problem was that he expected his fave bands to save his soul, or at least die for our sins. No one can live up to that and thus he despaired. I also heard that Lester was not nearly as fearless as his reputation, an example being a piece he never published on the “gay mafia” in the NYC scene. And I always thought his famous piece “The White Noise Supremacists” was a cheap shot. Lou Reed believed that Lester betrayed a trust by announcing in Creem that Lou was gay. It mattered a lot more then, and in any case if Lou wanted to stay in the closet Lester should have respected that.

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