Saturday, November 09, 2013


You know Danny Flores. You know him for one word: TEQUILA! Drink enough of it, and you might start doing the"Clam City Boogie."

Danny (July 11, 1929 – September 19, 2006) was born in Santa Paula, California, then moved with his parents to Long Beach where he formed the 3-D Ranch Boys, and later recorded as Danny Flores and His 3-D's. Their best recording might well be...CLAM CITY BOOGIE.

Dubbed "The Mexican Hillbilly" for his rockin' mix of blues and country, the sax-playing young star ended up with yet another identity: Chuck Rio. Stuck in a contract that was holding him back, he needed a different name to record new music for a new record label. Danny/Chuck's new group was The Champs. The debut single was "Train to Nowhere." Needing a B-side, Flores chose to highlight himself on sax via an instrumental…interrupted by periodic shouts (if not shots) of "Tequila!"

As often happens, the B-side was the one disc jockeys played, and they kept playing it. "Tequila" shot to #1 in 1958, and won a 1959 Grammy. As often happened, he was lured into signing away the U.S. rights. At the time, many composers and singers figured a lump sum payout was a good bet. Who could know that quickly done rock tunes would have an extended life via oldies re-issues, CDs, commercial use or movie soundtracks? Fortunately, he held on to world rights, and continued to get some decent paychecks from overseas.

Who can do without "Tequila?" Not Danny Flores. He gigged regularly in California through the 70's, hiring a back-up singer named Sharee…who would become his wife. Thirty years later, and hundreds of local shows later, she recalled, " 'I can honestly tell you he never got tired of playing that song." No word on how often he performed "Clam City Boogie." It's probably fair to say that when it came to royalties, the song didn't generate too many clams.

Danny Flores Clam City Boogie

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