Little Joe on Politics, Racism and Chicano Rights
Article and photos by Ramón Hernández
Is Little Joe Running for Political Office? No, but he is throwing in his hat into all races and hitting the campaign trail to help Texas turn back to blue from local city elections to the governorship and state congressmen and women.
Archie Bell to Tighten Up Tejano SOUL Cruise
By Ramón Hernández
Archie Lee Bell says, “ ‘There’s Gonna Be a Showdown’ on the Carnival Valor cruise ship that sails out of Galveston on Monday, November 13.
“We’re going to ‘Tighten Up.’ ‘Everybody’s gonna have a good time. So ‘Let’s Groove’ together by signing up for this cruise.”
La Ley de Tejas to Lay Down the Law during Cruise
By Ramón Hernández
Augustine Ramírez aka La Ley de Tejano is ready to play sheriff during the November Soul Cruise.
“That’s right, I’m going to lay down the law,” the Grammy Award winner said.
“And the law is, for everybody to have a good time, to get down and have fun! I know I plan to have fun.”
In view of this being Augustine’s first time at sea, when asked what he looks to in regard to the cruise, he said, “I think I need one, really, because I need to take a break and just enjoy the experience. I’m excited about this new adventure. I want to savor it all; frog legs, escargot, and you name it.
“A lot of my friends will be on this cruise, so I look forward to spending time with them and also make new friends.
“I’m not going to lock myself in my cabin and order my meals because I intend to make myself accessible to the fans. Esa es la ley, that’s the law.”
Although Augustine is a genuine living Tejano music legend, the following mini bio is provided so our younger readers can learn a little bit of his musical history.
As most Chicanos during the rocking 1950s, Augustine joined Los Jesters in 1957. A year later, he became the lead singer for Los Dominos, another rock’n’roll band.
Next came stints singing harmony, and as a guitar player with Los Latinos de Fred Salas plus the Roy Montelongo Orchestra.
“I knew all of Isidro López’s songs, so when Fred would take a break, he would let me sing a couple of tunes. After getting the experience of three bands under his belt, he formed his own orchestra and recorded his first album with Disco Grande in 1962.
“I was lucky in that I was at the right place at the right time when Fred (Salas) asked me to sit in with during a gig at the Manhattan Club in Dallas,” Guti, as he is also known continued.
“The venue is where El Zarape Records owner, Johnny González, and Capri Records owners, Luther and Vivian de la Garza would hold their dances.
“When Fred took a break and I sang a couple of songs, Johnny heard me. He liked what he heard and offered me a contract with his label. What I didn’t know is that Little Joe’s contract was about to expire and he was looking for a replacement. Then he asked (Little) Joe to take me on tour as his opening act. What a break. What luck!”
Long story short, Ramírez considers “El Barco Chiquito,” which went Gold, as the song that opened the doors for him as a solo act.
Although “Aquella Noche,” “El Gusto es Suyo,” “Damelo” and other productions made Billboard’s “Hot Latin LPs” charts, the Lockhart, Texas-native considers “Tres Ramitas,” “Paloma Dejame Hir” and “Sangre de Indio,” to be his fan’s favorite tunes.
As for his moniker, the Tejano Music Hall of Fame inductee said, “It was Chicago’s famous Zunigas that baptized me with that name, ‘La Ley de Tejas,’ back in the ‘60s.”
Ramírez, who has received the “Keys to the City of Beeville” and was honored with a Proclamation of “Augustine Ramírez Day” in Lockhart, continues to perform all over the Southwest, plus as far as Wyoming plus Kansas and the Tri-State area of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
One of the latest honors bestowed on Guti is the inclusion of a leopold-print vest he wore on a 1960s poster and later CD in the “Legends of Tejano Music” exhibit at the Wittliff Collections located in the seventh floor of the Albert B. Alkek Library at Texas State University.
The exhibit includes stage outfits and personal items owned by Little Joe, Sunny, Freddie Martínez, Rubén and Alfonso Ramos, Carlos Guzmán and countless other legends.
On the female vocalist side, there are dresses and costumes that were worn by Lydia Mendoza, Laura Canales, Patsy Torres,on up to Elida of Avante, Shelly Lares and Isabel Marie.
The exhibit just opened its doors and will remain up until December 20. Now, getting back to the cruise, if you have never cruised, don’t just put it in your ‘bucket list,’ do it. Go to www.tejanosoulcruise.com and sign up.
Then get ready to put on your dancing shoes and “tighten up’ to the music of Archie Bell of the Drells. Or, just kick back and enjoy the soul filled voices of Jimmy Edward, Joe Jama and Chris Q.
Other Tejano artists scheduled to perform are Ram Herrera and Charanga King Hugo Guerrero. For eye-candy, girl watchers can feast their eyes on Stephanie Lynn, Candace Vargas and Tracy Pérez as they dance and belt out their hits.
Then there’s MC2, the Mambo Jazz Kings, and Los Hermanos Cortez, plus Avizo and Wild Bill Perkins’ all-star cruise band backing up all the acts. In other words, there’s something for everybody.
Your host and emcee for this fun time cruise will be Houston’s Ms. Bea Zarate and Jumpin’ Jess. The price of the cruise, which sets sail from Galveston on Monday, November 13 and returns on November 18, includes fees, gratuities, food, room and entry to all shows.
No passport is needed for U.S. citizens, but a birth certificate is mandatory. And don’t’ forget that acting cruise sheriff ‘La Ley de Tejas’ is laying down the law.
“That right,” Ramírez reiterated, “For everybody to have a good time, get down and have fun. That’s the law!”
EXCLUSIVE: Long Hidden Secret of Garibaldi Finally Revealed
By Ramón Hernández
Jean-Pierre Reveals His Alamo City Roots as He Prepares for a Comeback
Not only will you, the reader, learn what happened to Jean Pierre Korngold, but also one of the biggest secrets in Mexican showbiz in this exclusive interview during which he reveals a never-known fact about the “All-Mexican” musical group that performed to sold-out arenas, stadiums and festivals throughout the Latin Hemisphere and Spain. And it’s something that will make San Antonio proud.
It’s Smooth Sailing for Jonny Martinez
By Ramón Hernández
He followed in the footsteps of his father, Tejano Music Hall of Fame inductee, Anselmo “Chemiro” Martínez as a singer, songwriter, composer, arranger, and producer. Then he tacked on to that radio personality, recording engineer, ESL teacher, Chief of Operations (COO) for the yearly Tejano Legends cruises; and facilities manager at Texas State University since 2014.
ANSELMO MARTÍNEZ: A TRUE MUSIC PIONEER
by: Ramon Hernadez
Anselmo “Chemiro” Martínez was a star before music was termed conjunto, orquesta música tejana, la onda Chicana or Tejano music.
Martínez was born on April 21, 1927 in Donley, Texas and raised in Hondo. As for his nickname, Chemo, as he was called at home, said it came about as the result of a first grade school Valentine Day’s party.
“You see, I got his card from my cousin Juanita ‘Janie’ Alcorta; and when the teacher read the name on the envelope, she pronounced it ‘Chemiro’ and it stuck,” Martínez said during an interview at his Westside San Antonio home.
By Ramón Hernández
Roxanne hails from Devine. She is a fox and is delightfully divine.
The adjective is also fitting because this young songbird has truthfully and honestly been the recipient of lifesaving divine intervention, but more on that later.
For starters, Henry Balderrama of La Patria is her maternal cousin and his son, Rick, is her second cousin. Therefore, she was born into a musical family.
Cruising with Sunny
Story and photo by: Ramón Hernández
Remember the mid-1970s when la palomia started cruising in downtown San Antonio in their lowriders and other vehicles with their speakers blaring out Sunny and the Sunglows/Sunliners hits being played from their “8 Track” & cassette decks. “Back then there wasn’t ITunes, mp3’s, Cds”. With a cassette deck we created something that should have been called “MY TUNE”s !
The same was happening from El Paso to Odessa to Corpus Christi, only the name of main drag changed, but the music was the same – “Talk to Me,” “Put Me in Jail,” “Runaway,” “Smile Now, Cry Later,” and other great lowriding rolas.