Joe "King" Carrasco and the Crowns – Royal, Loyal and Live (1990)

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NICK DERISO: We blast off with two break-neck covers from this bluesy Tex-Mex bar band — Jimi Hendrix’s scorching “Hey Joe” and then ? and the Mysterians’ “96 Tears.”

Consider yourself warned. This is floor-it fun, with the brake pedal broken off.

Carrasco and Co. rarely stop even to breathe between tracks on “Royal, Loyal and Live” — which was recorded in part back then, appropriately enough, at a club on South Padre Island.

Dig deeper into the bio, and you’ll find credible turns on MCA and Rounder Records. The record itself includes the faintest whispers of Carrasco’s old days with Augie Myers, Speedy Sparks and Ernie Durawa, who went on to form the Texas Tornados with Freddie Fender.

But don’t let those quick forays into the thoughtful fool you. Their half-Spanglish, half-garage band sound is nothing if not energetic. The Crowns hit their stride and never stop running. Well, except to let out a happy yelp.

Carrasco will tell you, if you were to ask, that he has larger concerns. That a 1985 trip to Central America, for instance, gave him a heightened awareness of its politics. More typical on this record, however, are good-time moments like this one:

I said, hey little girl/
What do you do?
I’ve been waiting all week/
for something like you.
It’s Thursday night/
Padre town.
Come on everybody/
Let’s party down.

This isn’t a record about Central American politics. Thank goodness.

Be warned, though: Every band member sings and growls and howls along. Couple that with the chanting crowd, and you have a beery subtext: Many of these neon-lit choruses are as tunelessly memorable as they are instantly disposable.

But heck, it ain’t a party, after all, until something gets broke.

Purchase: Joe “King” Carrasco and the Crowns – “Royal, Loyal and Live”

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