Pachuco boogie—the jump blues with tropical rhythms that were a soundtrack for zoot-suited Mexican-Americans during the 1940s—has been gathering dust in the attic of jazz history for too long. But now audio-archivist label Arhoolie has put out some of the genre's best offerings on Pachuco Boogie, a 21-track dance-a-thon. It's about five years and three musical trends too late because the neo-swingers of the late 1990s would have swallowed this music faster than they did Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. But perhaps its delayed release was for the best, since the elapsed time killed off the hipsters who wouldn't have known a true boogie if they found it on their handkerchief. Pachuco Boogie has all of the genre's great caló tales of boozing, flirting and the glories of marijuana, boasting nine tracks from long-forgotten-but-seminal bandleader Don Tosti (whose 1948 "Pachuco Boogie" gave the genre its name) as well as boogie-inflected conjunto norteño and even some hilarious corridos condemning those pinche pachucos as agents of Satan. But Lalo Guerrero is the real star here: most people are familiar with the legendary musician thanks to the film Zoot Suit, but listen to the original recordings here to find an artist that still swings (especially on the smoldering "Los Chucos Suaves") 50 years later. You'll love Pachuco Boogie for two different reasons: as a historical document that fills the gap between rural ranchera and the Chicano rock of the 1960s, and as an album to set your stereo on fire with its joyous burn.
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