The Austin Chronicle

Phases & Stages

Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, May 24, 2013, Music

Joe King Carrasco & El Molino

Tlaquepaque (Anaconda)

The crown-wearing king of Tex-Mex rock & roll jumps the border again to record with his old band El Molino, which backed him on his now-classic 1978 debut. The revamped lineup includes old-school members Speedy Sparks, Ernie Durawa, and Augie Meyers, plus Joe Morales, John X. Reed, Jesse Dayton, etc. Meyers isn't the only Sir Douglas Quintet member present, deceased Doug Sahm drummer Johnny Perez appearing in spirit as Carrasco sings his co-written "Buena," one of Tlaquepaque's many infectious, jalapeño-flavored jingles. Both "I Saw My Baby" and "Mas Mas" ride deep Afro-Cuban grooves with charismatic sax leads from Morales, while tracks like "Anna" (written to Carrasco's elderly Jack Russell terrier) and "Make Believe Kisses" demonstrate properly executed Buddy Holly worship. With its happy-go-lucky tone and Spanish-101 choruses, some may find Tlaquepaque cheesy (or rather queso-y), but that's precisely what Carrasco intends, and on grinning sing-alongs like "Por Que," his recipe cooks up buenísimo.


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