Artist: International Novelty Orch.
Author: Helen Stone/Jack Tenney
Instrumental as Rosa de Mexicali, only in Canada and Mexico.
Lewis James [for OKeh]
Gene Autry [in '39 also in film Mexicali Rose]
Karl Denver [hit UK]
Mexicali is a Mexican border town across Calexico on the Cali-side in the Baja California. Prohibition came to Calexico twenty years earlier than elsewhere in the United States, making Mexicali a boomtown for saloons, gambling, prostitution, horse racing and finish boxing. When the Southern Pacific Railroad branched from Imperial to Calexico in 1904, Mexicali became like a blueprint for Las Vegas. Bars became bigger and better equipped. Piano players were urged to assemble whole bands. One of them was Jack Tenney, who even provided his own tunes. One of his waltzes gave its melody to Mexicali Rose. Was there a real one? Some claim a dance hall girl (Rose Erskine) inspired the song. Tenney remembered a boarding house lady from Brawley who came down to Mexicali every month to drink, cry and forget. Tenney left Mexicali, went to law school and became a California State legislator in 1936.
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