Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Champs - Tequiladotdotdot
artworkThe Champs were a very influential band. They were also the ultimate party band. Their "Tequila" is right up there with "Louie Louie" as a party standard and much covered rock anthem. Between Chuck Rio's (Danny Flores) sax and Dave Burgess' writing and guitar, the Champs were a band to be reckoned with. They began as the Dave Burgess and Danny Flores Trio, but soon were to be known to the whole world as the Champs. Over the years, many players came and went, including Glen Campbell. This budget collection of their work provides an entré to the world of the Champs. Within, you'll find 18 bouncy joyous tracks from a rock and roll original, mariachi inspired, R&B flavored, inventively arranged, and totally unpretentious.
Picks: Tequila, Train To Nowhere, El Rancho Rock, Chariot Rock, Too Much Tequila, South Of The Border, Frankie and Johnny, Midnighter, Fandango, Limbo Rock, Streamliner, Tijuana Two Step, Sky High, Stiletto, Mau Mau, That Did It, Jumping Bean, Tequila Twist

Track by Track Review

Tequila dotdotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

This is their BIG HIT!. It is a sax based number that was probably the frat house standard, long before "Louie Louie" was. The spoken "Tequila" at the end of the lines has become a standard of Latin party rock. Very infectious.

Train To Nowhere dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Plinky piano groovin' with fifties "wooooo-wop-wop" chorus. It's fun enough, but not particularly interesting. No melody, just a riff.

El Rancho Rock dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

"El Rancho Grande" saxed up like "Tequila" with lotsa fun damped guitar rhythm work, and a honkin' good sax performance.

Chariot Rock dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Saucy sax, choked guitar, nifty percussion, and a melody line that speaks in whispers of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" while sportin' fifties jammin' rock sensibilities. There are several musical reference to "Tequila."

Too Much Tequila dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

This is one of several follow ups to their "Tequila." It is a sax based number, slower than it's inspiration, and with more of an "El Rancho Grande" sound to it. The guitar break is acoustic and quite nice.

South Of The Border dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

"Tequila"-ized rendering of this familiar tune. It has way more charm than the Tijuana Brass version, especially due to the chop of the Champs' arrangement. Very cool.

Frankie and Johnny dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

This R&B standard is made over with vibrato low-E guitar and sax. The style transfusion gives it a whole new feel. The rockabilly snare contrasts to the Champs' general sound. Excellent.

Midnighter dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Raw sax R&B based rock, pumpin' a party jam, drivin' the poodle dress crowd nuts. Fine jammin' dance tune from Champs.

Fandango dotdotdotdot
Mariachi Rock (Instrumental)

"Fandango" is a smooth mariachi think with sweet horns and a bouncy arrangement. The tribal drums are very cool, and create a funky edge to an otherwise tame performance. Quite enjoyable. The flute verse is also a nice touch, as is the acoustic guitar.

Limbo Rock dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Billy Strange's "Second Line Limbo" is one infectious tune. It is incarnated via the Latin frill of the Champs for this entirely infectious 1962 hit. Except for the "la la la" chorus, this is delightful.

Streamliner dot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

The chorus tells the story. Fifties stylings, a jammin' feel, and nothing special happening. The handclaps are the most interesting part of the whole track.

Tijuana Two Step dotdotdotdot
Mariachi Rock (Instrumental)

Boy, is this cool. The mariachi arrangement is saucy and fun, and the traditional oom-pa one-two beat is perfectly in tune with the melody. The delicate guitar work is excellent as well. Just too fun. Where's that piñata?

Sky High dotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Bouncy post "Tequila" variation on the traditional Mexican tune "Little Linda." It's fun, but doesn't exactly capture the soul.

Stiletto dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

This is a slithery little number that relies on the spaces between the choppy rhythm and dry guitar to create a sense of suspense and fun. It's melody is not much more than a fall from high to low notes, but it has a lot of charm, and quite a bit of chunk for a period piece.

Mau Mau dotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Infectious chunk and tribal drums, and fifties plinky piano, with that Champs sax sound. Lot;s of fun, but mostly a party backtrack.

That Did It dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Excellent percussion, damped guitar chops, plinky piano, and a minimal approach. It's a traditional tune made shiny new with a little inventive arranging. The percussion really makes this work. It's busy without being in the way, and stands out against the sparse lead and rhythm.

Jumping Bean dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

This guitar number uses a very simple progression for the melody, an infectious backtrack, and grodie sounds. The guitar is in a very low-E range and the whole thing seems to work well.

Tequila Twist dotdotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Yet another rearranging of their hit. It's almost as if a big band would do it, with the exception of Chuck Rio's wailing sax work. Infectious, yet not enduring.