SONG #69

  • KEVIN CONNER: lead vocal, electric guitar (Paul Reed Smith) and acoustic (Martin D-35)
  • DOUG KOEMPEL: harmony vocal, bass and piano (Young Chang Grand)
  • drums sequenced by Doug on E-mu Systems Drumulator
  • recorded in 1983 at: Bird-On-Fire Recording Studio / West Union, Iowa
Doug Koempel © 2016

FROM THE 1960s THROUGH THE 1980s, Charlies Supper Club in Algona, Iowa was one of the most-popular dining and entertainment spots in north central Iowa. Charlie McVay was a firm believer in live entertainment, and he ran the Memory Brothers four to six times a year, six nights a week for nearly 20 years - up until his death in 1984.

Charlie's club was a cabaret in the truest sense of the word - a person could dine as he or she listened to live music. And there was also a small, dance floor which was always packed with folks of all ages. 

When I think about performing the song "Jose Cuervo," I always get a mental image of Kevin Conner and me playing in a very specific area of Charlies - not the regular stage. Normally we'd perform on the main stage which was centered along the east wall of the club - the audience was seated directly in front of us with the dance floor to our immediate left. But for some reason I remember playing this song in a makeshift area on the south wall with the dance area to our right. This silly recollection is essentially irrelevant to any discussion of "Jose Cuervo," but I must confess any time I hear this song or think of performing it, I'm right back at Charlies in that particular spot! (Maybe some of the old-timers from Algona who might be reading this will remember why the stage area was temporarily moved during the mid-80s and drop me an email to refresh my memory.)

"Jose Cuervo" has a catchy melody with a great storyline. The singer laments having overindulged in a certain libation known as "Jose Cuervo" and relates several ensuing misadventures. The song was written and originally recorded by Cindy Jordan in 1982. However it was Shelly West (daughter of country star Dottie West) who turned "Jose Cuervo" into a big hit in 1983. When you hear Kevin's great vocal on this, you'll know why this was one of our most-popular dance tunes of the '80s.

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