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Joe King Carrasco

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Named after the infamous Texas dope dealer, Fred Gomez Carrasco, who was killed during an attempted jail break from Huntsville’s Department of Corrections maximum security unit in the mid-1970’s, Joe “King” Carrasco, has devoted his career to preserving the musical genre he grew up listening to in his west Texas boyhood home of Dumas. Joe “King” decided at an early age to follow in the footsteps and to perpetuate the musical tradition and heritage of the Tex-Mex, Vox/Farfisa organ-driven rock and roll “garage sound” of such 1960’s luminaries as the Sir Douglas Quintet, Question Mark & the Mysterians and Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs.

After playing in a succession of bands around Texas in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Carrasco founded his horn-influenced big band, El Molino, in San Antonio in 1976. It was there he recorded his 1978 debut album, Tex-Mex Rock-Roll. Somehow this record made its way to England and was re-released by Big Beat Records. Elvis Costello once remarked to the UK press, “… that it was better than the Police.”

By 1979, Carrasco moved to Austin and formed the quartet known as the Crowns where they were regulars at Raul’s on the Drag and at Duke’s Royal Coach Inn & Club Foot on South Congress. It was in Austin that Joe & the Crowns recorded their quintessential party anthem, “Party Weekend,” b/w “Houston El Mover.” From this session, Joe “King” and the Crowns also recorded “Let’s Get Pretty” b/w “Nowhere Else but San Antonio,” This single was released regionally in Texas in 1981 by Indio Records, a subsidiary of Recovery Recordings. From the success of Carrasco’s independent Austin, Texas releases, the band soon became the first American group signed to England’s legendary Stiff Records.

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