Tejano Music Lost Two More Greats in June
Story and photos by Ramón Hernández
Both musicians that passed on were not household names because both fell under the umbrella of the bandleaders.
For years, countless of bands covered “Juana La Cubana,” “La Gallina,” “El Colesterol” plus countless other hits, but each time we heard them on the radio or announced at clubs, it was always the latest hit by Fito Olivares y La Pura Sabrosura. However, the voice that interpreted all these hits was Fito’s brother and drummer, Javier Olivares.
Other commercial breakthroughs were “La Negra Catalina,” “Aguita de Melon,” “La Ranita” and countless others.
Fito, whose real name is Rodolfo, wrote all those best-selling records and his saxophone drove La Sabruosura’s. Brother Jaimé augments Fito’s saxophone, but it was Javier who sang the songs.
Javier, was born in Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico on April 26, 1954, but was a long-time resident of Pasadena, Texas where most of the family now lives
The Olivares brothers, Javier, Jaimé and Fito relocated to Houston in 1977 and formed La Pura Sabrosura in 1980 and started to enjoy great success in the late 1980s. And for the record, their other brother Joél, was never a part of the group, but Javier’s son, Miguel Martín, has been the group’s percussionist for over a year.
Javier had been hospitalized for two months and it was after surgery to treat stomach cancer that he passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 10 at age 57.
As is life, the show must go on and on Friday, June 22, La Pura Sabrosura performed at Graham Central Station in a concert dedicated to Javier’s memory with Fito Olivares Jr. replacing his uncle on drums and Eagle Pass-native Adrian Díaz was introduced as the new voice for the group.
The second musician, Leonel Pulido, was born in La Palmita, Nuevo León, Mexico, but the well-recognized accordionist lived in Elsa, Texas for most of his life.
In January of 1974, his nephews, Joél “Gordo,” saxophone; Roél “Flaco,” saxophone; José Roberto “El Primo” Pulido Jr., bajo sexto and vocals; and he, on accordion, formed the original Los Clasicos. The rest as they say, is history.
On Tuesday, June 19, Leonel suffered a heart attack as he was being transported in an ambulance to Edinburg Regional Medical Center when he died enroute. He was 67.
As an acclaimed accordionist, Leonel’s musical legacy will live on through his hundreds of recordings with Roberto Pulido y Los Clasicos.
May both musicians rest in peace, amen.