The Champs was a rock and roll instrumental group from Los Angeles, California. It was named after Gene Autry’s horse, Champ. It was originally consisted of studio musicians Dave Burgess (rhythm guitar), Buddy Bruce (lead guitar), Danny Flores (sax), cliff Hills (bass) and Gene Alden (drums). Shortly after Tequila became a hit, Bruce and Hills were replaced by Dale Norris and Joe Burnas. Eight months after recording Tequila, Flores and Alden left, replaced by Jimmy Seals (sax) & Dash Crofts (drums), later a hit recording duo (Seals & Croft). In 1960, Glen Campbell also joined the group for some time. In the end, the Champs became a touring outfit with their records being cut by Burgess and seasoned studio musicians such as Hal Blaine back at Challenge Records. The label’s vice president Burgess disbanded the group in 1965.
During their seven year tenure, the Champs had 9 charted hit singles on Billboard Hot 100.
This 2-CD set on Jasmine Records, a respected oldies reissue label in UK, consists of 24 songs in disc 1 and 23 songs in disc 2. The sound is very well remastered with no hiss.
The song listing (with chart position and year) is as follows:
Disc 1: 01 Go Champs Go 02 El Rancho Rock (US 30/1958) 03 I’ll Be There 04 Sky High 05 What’s Up Buttercup 06 Lollipop 07 Tequila (US 1(5)/1958; UK 5/1958) 08 Train To Nowhere (b-side to Tequila) 1958 09 Midnighter (b-side to El Rancho Rock)(US 94/1958) 10 Robot Walk 11 Just Walkin’ In The Rain 12 Night Beat 13 Everybody’s Rockin’ (stereo with spoken intro) 14 Chariot Rock (US 59/1958) 15 The Caterpillar (stereo) 16 Turnpike 17 Lavenia (stereo) 18 Mau Mau Stomp (stereo) 19 Rockin’ Mary (stereo with spoken intro) 20 Subway (b-side to Chariot Rock) 1958 21 The Toast (stereo) 22 Bandido (stereo) 23 Ali Baba (stereo) 24 Foggy River (stereo)
Disc 2: 01 Gone Train 02 Beaknik 03 Moonlight Bay 04 Caramba 05 Night Train 06 The Rattler 07 Double Eagle Rock 08 Too Much Tequila (US 30/1960; UK 49/1960) 09 Twenty Thousand Leagues (b-side to Too Much Tequila) 1960 10 Red Eye 11 The Little Matador 12 Cocoanut Grove 13 Alley Cat 14 The Face 15 Tough Train 16 Hokey Pokey 17 Jumping Bean 18 The Shoddy Shoddy 19 Sombrero 20 Cantina 21 Panic Button 22 Limbo Rock (US 40/1962)(also b-side to Tequila Twist) 23 Tequila Twist (US 99/1962)
The missing songs in the Champs discography are: 01 Limbo Dance (US 97/1962)*can be found in The Best of The Champs on Repertoire label 02 Latin Limbo (b-side to Limbo Dance)*can be found in The Later Singles on Ace 03 Mr. Cool (US 111/1963)*can be found in The Later Singles on Ace 04 ' Mash (b-side to Mr. Cool)*can be found in The Later Singles on Ace
I have just ordered The Later Singles by the Champs on Ace label from UK. It contains 26 tracks, from 1962 – 1965. This should complete my Champs collection as far as singles are concerned.
Jasmine Records has done a great job in bringing us 47 songs by the Champs, many of which were in true stereo. Although this compilation is not as complete as that on Lonnie Donegan (reviewed elsewhere), nevertheless, there are many many worthwhile album tracks that are hard to find. This 2CD set is actually more complete than the single disc, released on Ace label, called Singles. The Later Singles on Ace label should complement this set, thus completing all the singles (a- and b-sides, charted and uncharted) by the Champs. For a collector like myself, this is a dream come true. Very happy!
With its infectious Latin beat and distinctive “dirty sax”, The Champs’ Tequila remains one of the most memorable instrumentals of the Rock ‘N’ Roll era. Unlike many of their peers, the Champs were much more than just one-hit wonders, recording material of a consistently high standard throughout their seven year tenure. While you are listening to this 2 CD set, you just cannot help tapping your feet along with the infectious music. This set is highly recommended.
Bought some of the Champs 45`s when they originally came out, so it was a good opportunity to re-appraise this great rock n roll group. This is a fabulous collection with quite a few tracks I had not heard, but all of them classics in their own right & some superb guitar & sax solos. I would thoroughly recommend this collection to any instrumental fan, or indeed any music fan..