Image via WikipediaI often mention to friends that one day I would love to put together a compilation CD of artists who really seem to be enjoying themselves and flat out having fun making the music they make. Jonathan Richman would make the cut, based on one college friend of mine declaring him "the happiest man in rock and roll." Because you can pretty much bet that whatever you are doing at any given moment, somewhere in the world David Lee Roth is having more fun than you are, he'd be in the mix as well.
Featured in such a mix would be Joe "King" Carrasco. He always looked and sounded like he was having a blast!
Bursting out of Dumas, TX, first with his band El Molino and later - and more widely recognized - as frontman for Joe "King" Carrasco & The Crowns, Carrasco's songs center mainly on having a good time and dancing your cares away. Clad in crazy neon outfits and often sporting an Imperial Margarine-styled crown, Joe and his band staked out a unique corner of the New Wave universe in the early '80s with their Tex-Mex sound.
Good-time, not-a-care-in-the-world lyrics that would occasionally transition unexpectedly between English and Spanish, irresistibly catchy dance beats, and reedy Farfisa organ riffs were Carrasco's calling cards; he and his band were a modern version of Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs (whose "Wooly Bully" Carrasco eventually, inevitably, covered). They were spotted early on by Elvis Costello, whose support helped them become one of the first American bands to sign with the legendary Stiff Records label.
Carrasco was also one of the early artists to adapt to the then-new music video format. As a result, Carrasco saw his greatest exposure during the first year or so of MTV, with clips for "Person-Person", "Buena," "Current Events (Are Making Me Tense)" and "Party Weekend" seeing regular airplay.
It's awfully hard not to smile when listening to Joe "King" Carrasco & The Crowns. Their happy-go-lucky music is downright infectious, so it was difficult for me to choose just one clip. Plus, it's the Christmas season, so I'm in a giving mood. This week, you get three - count 'em, three! - clips: the goofily giddy "Person-Person," the wildly exuberant "Party Weekend", and, in the spirit of the holidays, Joe "King" Carrasco & The Crowns' live in-studio MTV Christmas song from 1981, "It's A Party Christmas." Well, what else would you expect a Joe Carrasco Christmas song to be called? Enjoy!