Ruben RamosWith The Garcia Brothers
$10 in advance, $15 day of show for 18+ (plus applicable fees) Doors: 8 pm
“Ruben Ramos [has] developed a solid reputation as one of the smoothest singers and classiest bandleaders in the history of the genre.”Ramiro Burr-The Billboard Guide to Tejano and Regional Mexican Music
Born in Sugarland, Texas, Ruben Perez Ramos now sits at the helm of a family musical legacy borne over 80 years ago. This legacy – El Legado – is set with traditional Mexican roots, was infused with the big-band sound of the 1940s, heavily influenced by blues and rock, and is now perched at the pinnacle of La Onda: Tejano.
Los Serenateros: 1919-1941
The Ramos musical legacy began in post-World War I Texas. Ruben’s uncles began performing just after the World War I in 1919 as Juan Manuel Perez and the Serenaders (Los Serenateros). Between 1919 and 1941, the Serenaders eventually included all nine of Ruben’s uncles.
At the start of World War II, five of the Perez brothers went into the military.uben’s grandmother proudly displayed the small banner with five stars representing five sons in service during the war. The Serenaders took a break.
Meanwhile, Ruben’s father, Alfonso Ramos Sr., worked the cotton fields and the railroads; he also played the fiddle while his mother, Elvira Perez, played the guitar at family gatherings. At the end of World War II, Ruben’s uncles returned to take up the legacy. Uncle Justin re-formed the band as Justin Perez and His Ex-GIs. In a few years, they had established themselves as topnotch, big-band orchestra in the 1940s, complete with sit-down horns, music stands, dark suits and ties, and a sound consistent with the times. This was the beginning of the end for any regular day-job for Ruben and his five siblings! When Inez, Elijio, Alfonso, Ruben, Joe and Roy came along, picking cotton was the way of the world – help the family, pay the bills – but the musical legacy would not wait long. These kids had “talento”.
Ruben’s sister Inez had joined the band as singer in 1947. Then, in his early teens, Ruben’s older brother Alfonso Ramos Jr. joined their uncle’s group. In the mid 1950s, the band then became the Alfonso Ramos Orchestra. Ruben continued with the band on weekends, increasingly singing English cover R&B tunes, even as he landed a “good job” with the state insurance department. Now, all five Ramos brothers – Alfonso, Elijio, Ruben, Joe and Roy – were performing. As the orchestra’s drummer, Ruben performed throughout the 1960s with Alfonso’s band. The band played a mix of tunes, from cha chas and cumbias to boleros and rancheras. Ruben provided the vocals and the push to many of the English songs the band played.
The Next Level – The Revolution
In 1969, Ruben’s brother Roy made a move to spread the Ramos’ family legacy. In short time, Ruben joined him as the new band’s front man. Brother Alfonso’s orchestra was at the top of its game and Ruben was in a position to maximize the talent available from the Ramos brothers. He formed what would become the “Next Level’ of the family legacy – the Mexican Revolution. But he also faced a major crossroad in his career. It was time to either quit music or go into it full time. To do anything less would mean being relegated to the minor leagues forever. Fortunately for Ramos, and perhaps the industry, he jumped in full force and never looked back. The name Mexican Revolution was picked, Ruben explained in later interviews, because, among other reasons, the ’70s saw the emergence of the Chicano and civil rights movements. During that period, the band played the Chicano circuit that ran from Dallas-Fort Worth to the Rio Grande Valley, recording a number of albums on a series of independents. By 1981, “Tejano” had become the new term for the music and Ruben changed the band name to the Texas Revolution because he felt Tejanos were getting an identity in Texas.
Ruben Ramos: El Gato Negro is Tagged!
In 1985, Alfonso and Ruben reunited for a series of albums that included Back to Back, Again. In 1987, Alfonso and Ruben were named best vocal duo at the 1987 Tejano music Awards. By this time, Ramos had scored with the regional hit “El Gato Negro” (The Black Cat), which also became his nickname.
Not Your Everyday Tejano – What’s Different?
In the ’90s Ruben continued playing with a live horn section, eschewing the trend by many bands to substitute synthesizers and keyboards. “I’m a horns man” explains Ruben. “There ain’t nothing like a wall of sound, real sound, coming at you”. This characterizes the sound of El Gato: true horns, real drums with crashing cymbals, accordion so real you can hear the clicks of the buttons – all delivered by the master musicians of the Texas Revolution. Ruben’s performances are also punctuated by sheer presentation. The Tejano uniform of jeans and starched shirts is cool, but it ain’t El Gato’s style. “Ruben Ramos looks more like a senator than a musician” wrote one reporter. Ruben humbly states that people work hard all week, then they spend their hard-earned money to go hear a great concert. “If they can spend their money to hear me, then I can dress for them. I owe Tejano fans that respect.” says Ruben.
In January of 1998, Ruben and the Revolution were inducted into the prestigious Pura Vida Hall of Fame. In March of 1998, Ruben was inducted into the Tejano Music Awards Hall of Fame. On awards night, Ruben insisted his band perform live; all performances by other artists were lip synched (the awards were being video taped for TV broadcast – lip synching cut down on mistakes). Awards organizers agreed to have Ruben perform live with his band, but they would have to be the last award of the night. Ruben and the Revolution performed – live – to a still-full arena at 1:15 a.m. Later in 1998, Ruben Teamed with David Hildago and Cesar Rosas (of Los Lobos), rocker Joe Ely, country legend Freddy Fender, accordion master Flaco Jimenez, and country crooner Rick Trevino to form Los Super Seven. Los Super Seven’s self-titled CD earned them a Grammy award for Best Mexican American Performance at the 1999 Grammy Awards. In April of 1999, Ruben and the Revolution received the Best Male Vocalist and Video of the Year awards at the Tejano Music Awards.
The Legacy Continues….
Changing the band’s name back to The Mexican Revolution, Ruben Ramos continues to spread the word on tejano. In December 2005, Ruben will release his latest CD entitled “Reloaded”. We forsee from the music industry and the fans overwhelming, adding to his legendary status. The cool and smooth sound of one of the hottest horn sections in Texas, the selection of songs, combined with Ruben’s distinct and sincere voice, promises to be one of his best CDs to date.
LOS GARCIA BROS
Thirteen years ago on July 19, 2002, the Conjunto and Tejano Music World came to a standstill and be-felled by sadness as the news of the tragic death of legendary musician and singer Santiago “Jimmy” Garcia was announced.
Jimmy Garcia co-founded Los Garcia Brothers from Eagle Pass, Texas, formerly known as Los Clavelitos.
Although 13 years have passed, Jimmy is still remembered by thousands of fans, friends and his family for the beautiful person he was both on and off-stage. He was very humble and warm with everyone he met or touched.
His unique and strong style of accordion playing and vocals made him an international music icon, particularly among Conjunto and Tejano Music fans. His strong accordion and vocals propelled Los Garcia Brothers into the international music scene and fame among world music lovers and fans.
Santiago “Jimmy” Garcia, was born on August 28, 1974, in Eagle Pass, Texas and picked up music at an early age under the guidance and tutelage of his father, Joe “El Jefe” Garcia, and at the age of sixteen he formed Los Clavelitos de Jimmy Garcia, a family-based band with his brother, Joe “El Bro” Garcia, Jr., in 1990.
Jimmy and his brother Joe were accompanied by their father, Joe and Bajo Sexto Player Frank Rodriguez of Quemado, Texas for many years as they slowly ascended to the top of the Conjunto and Tejano music world.
Los Clavelitos emerged as a rising band with that unique Conjunto genre style to the delight of music fans and were later renamed Los Garcia Brothers, which until today carries the name in honor of Jimmy, as his brother Joey continues making the Garcia Brother’s name a legacy in the Tejano Conjunto music culture.
“Who will ever forget them, they were and continue to be part of our history. Up to now, you can’t help but relive memories of times passed that survive through the memories of their music. That is something that we will forever be grateful for. We must appreciate their dedication to making music that you to this very day find comfort in. Music that would make you forget about your problems even if it was for a few moments while you were seeing them perform live or hearing their music play through the radio. Who hasn’t ever just sang your heart out while listening to those vatos locos,” said a longtime fan.
Jimmy Garcia will forever be known as a master of music creating a unique sound, belting out electrifying polkas and cumbias that uniquely blended his accordion skills and saxophone playing together with a beautiful personality that would capture an audience while he performed.
The legacy that Jimmy has left behind can never be forgotten as he took an idea and created his opportunity of a lifetime and ran with it, for 11 straight years dedicating himself alongside his father and brother into cementing Los Garcia Brothers name amongst the top Tejano Conjunto elite.
Eleven years after beginning his musical career, Garcia and his band were awarded the 2001 Album of the Year Award in the conjunto category for Los Garcia de Jimmy Garcia at the Annual Tejano Music Awards and named the Most Promising Band. The following year, the Tejano Music Awards once again awarded Los Garcia Brothers with the conjunto album of the year award.
On July 19, 2002, Santiago “Jimmy” Garcia died at the age of 27 years young in a tragic one-car accident near La Pryor, Texas.
He was survived by his common-law wife, their son and daughter, and two daughters from a previous marriage.
13 years to the date Jimmy Garcia remains on people’s mind and hearts as he is often remembered as a modest, humble man that was brought up under the Hispanic culture and roots that live on through his musical songs and performances.
13 years after Jimmy’s passing his legacy and the Garcia Brothers name continues as his brother Joey “El Bro” Garcia, spearheads the group living, his and Jimmy’s dream on stage with musical performances in the United States as well as in Mexico as well as launching his own record label, El Bro Records.
Joey alongside his father, Joe, continue recording the very conjunto music that launched their dream many years ago, while they were an up and coming conjunto band out of Eagle Pass, Texas.
Jimmy’s dreams continue on, through the Garcia Brothers name and because they continue “making it conjunto carnal.”