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Chuck Higgins

Saxophonist Chuck Higgins earned R&B fame for his composition "Pachuko Hop," which remains a perennial favorite among Latino fans, but didn't gain enough general R&B acclaim to chart in the early '50s. Higgins also played trombone and trumpet. He moved from his native Gary to Los Angeles in 1940 as a teen. Higgins played trumpet in his high-school band and later attended the Los Angeles Conservatory. While there, Higgins started a band with pianist Frank Dunn and saxophonist Johnny Parker, among others. Higgins later became the band's saxophonist and wrote "Pachuko Hop." Its furious pace, roaring sax solo, and raw sound, plus the inclusion of the term "Pachuko," which was slang for a Mexican-American dressed in baggy pants with a key chain, made the song a '50s anthem for area Latinos. The B-side, "Motorhead Baby," was later the inspiration for Frank Zappa sideman James "Motorhead" Sherwood and the heavy metal band Motörhead. Higgins played dates in Los Angeles with everyone from Charlie Parker to the Orioles, and his band at one point included Johnny "Guitar" Watson. Although none of Higgins' many singles for Aladdin, Caddy, Lucky, Specialty, or Dootone ever earned national acclaim, he was an extremely popular regional attraction through the '50s and into the early '60s, when he retired from performing to become a music teacher at local high schools and a college. A comeback faltered in the mid-'70s, when Higgins tried to update his sound by going disco. He returned to honking R&B in the late '70s and toured England in the mid-'80s, while performing once again in Los Angeles clubs. ~ Ron Wynn
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Art Laboe's Memories Of El Monte

1. Memories Of El Monte

2. Earth Angel

3. Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero

5. Heaven And Paradise

6. Keeper Of Dreams

7. Chapel Of Love

8. To Be Loved

9. Thinking Of You

10. Cherry Pie

11. I Think You've Got Your Fools Mixed Up

12. Pachuko Hop

14. Reasons

15. I'll Always Love My Mama

16. Eighteen With A Bullet

17. Sitting In The Park

18. You're Still A Young Man

19. You Cheated

20. Love You So

x

Track List: Caribou & Downbeat 78's Story

Disc 1

1. Calypso Cha Cha

2. Perseverance

7. Animal Instinct

13. Chico Chico

14. Bam Celiena

15. Calypso Rock 'n' Roll

16. Nightfall In Zion "Roll River Jordan"

17. Walls Of Jericho

18. Rege Dege Ding

19. Aitken's Boogie

Disc 2

1. My Mothers Eyes

2. These Foolish Things

3. Let The Good Times Roll

5. Blue Moon

6. Blow Lynn Blow

7. But Officer

8. Let's Make A Whole Lotta Love

9. This Is My Story

10. Move Over Baby

11. Calypso Joe

12. Gambling Woman

14. Just Because

15. Worried Life Blues

17. Diana

18. Vow

20. Tequillo

Comments

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