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Some of the more famous bands in Texas were The Sir Douglas Quintet,Sunny & the Sunliners,Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, Little Joe & the Latinaires, Freddie Fender, Rocky Gil, and The Royal Jesters. In L.A., it started with Ritchie Valens and Chris Montez, and the mid-‘60s saw the rise of Thee Midnighters, The Premiers, Cannibal & the Headhunters, and a host of lesser known bands.
Lip-synching with Thee Midnighters
Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs in all their glory
In Texas, these bands evolved from Norteno and Conjunto accordion bands such as Steve Jordan and Flaco Jimenez. They added rock elements to their music but continued to aim for the Chicano demographic. In L.A., Lalo Guerrero is credited with godfathering the scene.
The movement soon spawned Santana and the big band Latin rock movement of the ‘70s, which included bands like Malo and El Chicano in the West, and The Latin Breed and The Tortilla Factory in the San Antonio area.
I think of Tex-Mex music as a '60s and '70s phenomenon that spilled over into the mainstream. Today it’s part of the Americana roots movement . The Texas Tornados, and the great Los Lobos from East L.A. are currently the best known champions of this music. In L.A. the low rider, oldies crowd still carries the torch, and in Texas a largeTejano music industry evolved that saw the rise of Selena, La Mafia, and Los Lonely Boys.
It’s fairly easy to find vinyl from this era at garage sales, used record stores, and on line, and usually at reasonable prices. Lots of 45s and LPs were pressed on labels such as Teardrop, Buena Suerte, Bego, Key-Loc, Ideal, El Zarape, Falcon, and many more.