Hey Pachuko – Royal Crown Revue – The Mask
An engrossing amalgamation of such disparate musical styles as swing, jive, blues and hip-hop, Royal Crown Revue were one of the original instigators of the new swing revival of the mid-90s. Royal Crown Revue had come to prominence at ‘swing-dancing’ engagements in their native Los Angeles, California, USA, including a two-year weekly run at The Derby club, centre point of the whole scene. Their popularity eventually caught the attention of industry executives, with Warner Brothers Records winning the race to sign them.
Royal Crown Revue was formed in 1989 by Eddie Nichols (vocals), Mando Dorame (tenor saxophone), James Achor (guitar), Veikko Lepisto (bass), Daniel Glass (drums), Bill Ungerman (baritone saxophone) and Scott Steen (trumpet). They debuted in 1991 with Kings Of Gangster Bop, which sold strongly on the strength of their passionate, swinging and sharp-suited live performances. Their residency at The Derby, which began in 1993, attracted one particularly important admirer. The director Chuck Russell asked the band to recreate their stage show for his 1994 hit movie The Mask. Their performance of ‘Hey Pachuco!’ endeared them to a whole new audience, and the song was also reprised in front of millions of Americans when figure skater Kurt Browning used it as the musical accompaniment to his programme in 1996. Royal Crown Revue’s performance also served as an inspiration for the movie Swingers, helping popularise the new swing revival.
Their major label debut Mugzy’s Move, a Ted Templeman production, showcased the band’s intricate musicianship and seemingly limitless depth of energy. The set included revisions of Bobby Darin’s ‘Beyond The Sea’ and Willie Dixon’s ‘Honey Child’. Further evidence of the band’s potential for crossover appeal came later that year with the announcement of support dates for bills headed by Jerry Lee Lewis and Porno For Pyros. A compelling independent live recording preceded their second major label release, The Contender, considered by many critics to be the apogee of the new swing movement. Following the album’s release Royal Crown Revue left Warners to sign a new recording contract with punk imprint Side One Dummy. They debuted for the label with 1999’s Walk On Fire.
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