Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Chuck Rio - The Tequila Mandotdotdot
artwork This CD is collected cross section of Tequila man Chuck Rio's output, from solo sessions under his real name Danny Flores, to the entire Persuaders' "Surfer's Nightmare" album, plus some singles and a few Champs' tunes, including "Tequila." The liner notes are excellent, full of detailed tidbits, pictures, and plenty of historical data. The thing I found most rewarding here was the inclusion of the Persuaders' album. This rare release has long eluded me, so finding all of the tracks here was a major plus. These sessions vary from Champs oriented to the outskirts of surf, some of which are down right cool. So, while not essential surf, this is a fine release worth seeking out.
Picks: Margarita, Midnighter, Surfin' Blues, Tequila, El Rancho Rock, Bruce, Antonillo, C'Est La Vie, The Whip, TNT, Mama Inez, Wildman, Persuasion [Let's Go Surfin'], Taking Off On A Wall, Hanging Ten, Surfer Strip, Surfer's Lullaby, Gremmie Bread, Kreshendo Stomp [Kahuna Stomp], Toes On The Nose, Caught In The Soup, Surfer's Nightmare, The Raid

Track by Track Review

Margarita dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Much like "Tequila," Chuck Rio & the Originals delivered "Margarita" based more on fifties dance party themes, this is a good fun party sax tune, well worth a blast at the next frat bash.

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.

Surfin' Blues dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock Surf (Instrumental)

After Chuck Rio left the Champs, he was involved in a studio project band called the Persuaders aka the Hollywood Persuaders, which issued the famous Surfer's Nightmare album as Persuaders featuring Chuck "Tequila" Rio. This is a slow dramatic sax marauder, with tribal drums and ominous dockside tone. Quite a nice track.

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.

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.

Bruce dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

This is a muddy session, a sorta R&B jam for a back ally brawl. Quite a fifties knife fight kinda track, with a grooving bass. So, why is it called "Bruce?" Issued in 1964 as by Danny Flores & the Fans. Danny Flores was Chuck Rio's real name.

Antonillo dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Like a San Antonio rose garden, this bouncy Chuck Rio solo coulda been amped up by Herb Alpert. It's quite fun and melodic.

C'Est La Vie dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Chuck Rio & the Originals issued this MOR track in 1959. It predates "Tequila," and hints at it slightly, but has none of the adventurous flair.

The Whip dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

The Originals issue this in '58. It's very playful, but not very imaginative.

TNT dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

This is an unissued Champs track from 1963. It's quite a nice number, more melodic and bouncy than many. The "TNT" chorus lines are kind of a drag, but otherwise it's just a stones throw from a choppy damped mariachi thing. Pretty cool track.

Mama Inez dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Chuck Rio cut this is unissued track in the early sixties. More mambo than rock, it is fun and all, but not very catchy.

Wildman dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

This is scary! I mean SCARY! The Contenders' "Wildman" is a basic track with adolescent high school chorus lines, and, well, just too silly for me.

Persuasion [Let's Go Surfin'] dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Pumpin' piano, party sax, and honkin' riffs tinkle their way into your living room as The Persuaders featuring Chuck "Tequila" Rio jam.

Taking Off On A Wall dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Big surf a la Bruce Johnston's "Pajama Party" album, with heavy influences from Mickey and Sylvia. Odd, and quite far from center stage.

Hanging Ten dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

The Persuaders were also the Creshendoes with Chuck Rio. "Hanging Ten" is way more jam-riff than song. It's plinking piano and bluesy progression tell tales of studio filler.

Surfer Strip dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Another Persuaders track, this time leaning heavily on David Rose's "The Stripper" and bluesy riffs, with piano and sax honkery.

Surfer's Lullaby dotdotdotdot
Dangerous Surf (Instrumental)

"Surfer's Lullaby" is a slow and shimmering track, lead by vibrato guitar and backed by saucy sax. Not exactly melodic, but really cool. The mood is obvious, the sultry looks cutting, and the danger imminent. Yikes!

Gremmie Bread dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

The title gives it away... "Mama's Little Baby Loves Shortnin' Bread" comes flowing from the childhood gray matter while the boys do a rockin' sax version of the ancient folk tune.

Kreshendo Stomp [Kahuna Stomp] dotdotdot
Latin Surf R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Stinging whammy and R&B riffs, shiny aural probes, and raspy sax break lines... a pretty cool track.

Toes On The Nose dotdotdot
Latin Surf R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Jammin' guitar riff rock, nearly watery, and driven, but not even remotely like the Eddie & the Showmen tune that shares the title. Squeelin' sax break, and intense guitar plucking. There's even some damped reverb after the sax snarl.

Caught In The Soup dotdotdot
Latin Surf R&B Rock (Instrumental)

"Caught In The Soup" is a slightly surfy riff rockin' tune, nifty in a rock jam sorta way. Not a standout, but groovy enough. The surf guitar just past the break brings the breakwater into focus.

Surfer's Nightmare dotdotdot
Latin Surf R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Another jam, surfy guitar tone, and squonkie sax, with cool piano, and a definite groove.

The Raid dotdotdot
Latin Surf R&B Rock (Instrumental)

"The Raid" is much faster than the others here. It's got more of a manic surf rant style, though it relies on the sax honkin' backtrack like the Crossfires, but without their intense low-E guitar rage. Groovy piano and soulful sax and a riff.