Joe King Carrasco Says Adios
No more wasted days and nights until next summer
By Margaret Moser,
10:30AM, Fri. Sep. 13, 2013
“Hey, was that Christopher Cross in San Antonio on Labor Day? Man! He said he liked my music!” Joe King Carrasco talks as fast as he plays his signature brand of Tex-Mex that tips its sombrero in every direction. Carrasco plays East Sixth Street joint the Gypsy Lounge tonight before driving home to Puerto Vallarta until next year.
Last year, Carrasco revived El Molino [see “Nacho Daddy”], his mid-Seventies act that carried forth the previous decade’s San Antonio sound of the Sir Douglas Quintet and ? & the Mysterians with a heavy Mexican accent. Such songs as “Tell Me” and “Jalapeno con Big Red” contrasted the mixture of swamp pop-style triplets with south-of-the-border rhythms. El Molino’s sonic amalgam morphed into Joe King Carrasco & the Crowns just in time for the Eighties, and Nuevo Wavo was born.
“This show’s gonna be the bridge between El Molino and the Crowns! I’ve never played the Gypsy Lounge before and can’t wait. It’s the last gig here until June 2014.”
Carrasco’s effusive banter is infectious as he waxes nostalgic about the quirky, gringo-Chicano sound also playing at his restaurant Nacho Daddy on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
“Ernie Durawa and Kris [Cummings] won’t be there, but Mike Navarro will be on drums, and Speedy Sparks on bass. Art Martinez plays sax. When I go out in the audience, he goes right there with me.”
Carrasco’s been gigging up a storm the last few weeks, including an appearance at San Antonio’s Texas Legacy Music show on Labor Day. Carrasco and various Westside cohorts reveled in their musical history as Augie Meyers, the Dell Kings, and other San Antonio outfits reunited for the annual honors show. Quietly in the crowd sat San Antonio-born Christopher Cross.
“That was him, that’s so cool! Man, I admire him. He went out to L.A. and made it! And Harvey Kagan [Sir Douglas Quintet] was there! San Antonio’s so cool. It’s like Austin used to be way back. Maybe it was all the military bases there, that it created clubs with so many different styles. The best musicians come from San Antonio. They’re not hippie musicians, they really know how to play those triplets!”
“‘Tell Me’ is a triplet. ‘Talk to Me’ is a triplet. San Antonio’s one of the few places in the world where triplets go over. Louisiana is one way, San Antonio does triplets Chicano style. When I play triplets in Mexico, it’s what gets people dancing. I love triplets!”
“If you can’t get people up to ‘Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,’ they’re not gonna dance.”