Hacienda Records: The First 20 years - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Hacienda Records: The First 20 years

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Posted: Friday, December 3, 1999 12:00 am

By RENE CABRERA

CORPUS CHRISTI Twenty years ago, two brothers opened the doors to their new

recording studio, a studio converted from the shell of a huge abandoned

building on Staples Street.

Hacienda Records is still going strong, and last week, Rick and Roland Garcia

celebrated the release of a new CD by Hacienda artists Marlisa Vela and Albert

Zamora y Talento:

Sola by Vela and Reclaim My Place by Zamora.

This is a thrilling and exciting time to be in the Latin music industry, Rick

Garcia said.

Theres an old saying that a rising tide raises all ships. Thats whats

happening with Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan as they move Latin music into a

more visible position in the mainstream, Garcia said. But theyre also

influencing the way we Tejanos see ourselves in terms of what we want in our

music and in how we fit into society. I see opportunities for our artists to

get swept up in that rising tide and its exciting to have the opportunity to

be a part of it.

In 1979, the Doobie Brothers were big, as was Michael Jackson, who that year

won his first Grammy for Dont Stop Til You Get Enough. In Tejano music,

artists like the Latin Breed, Roberto Pulido and Chato Chavarria were hot.

The year before, the Garcia brothers hired a professional studio designer from

Nashville to help them renovate their building into a studio. Rick Garcia, who

had earned his wings at the console in the Freddie Records studio, was the

recording engineer. Roland Garcia worked the business side of the venture.

The first artist to use the new 24-track recording equipment was conjunto

innovator Steve Jordan. Tony De La Rosa and Los Buenos Hermanos Serrata signed

shortly afterward. Since then, the studio has recorded everything from one guy

and his guitar to a 45-piece jazz group.

Many Tejano artists laid their early sound tracks at the studio. Gary Hobbs

was one, David Lee Garza, the Hometown Boys, La Tropa F and others did as

well. Some of the artists signed by Hacienda early on were stretching the

envelope of what was considered acceptable at the time. Once of those was

Ricky Smith y La Movida Band.

La Movida was really wild, Rick Garcia said. Here was a band with a

suggestive name and a wild lead guitar instead of a synthesizer. Nobody

thought the band would get anywhere. But they did. Then La Movidas lead

singer spun off to form Pio Trevino y Majic and we were moving.

Acknowledged masters like Mingo Saldivar, Valerio Longoria, and Isidro Lopez

recorded at Hacienda and the studio has been involved, directly or indirectly,

with many others.

Undoubtedly the label has produced some of the biggest hits in Tejano music,

said Raul Hernandez, general manager of McAllen radio station KVJY-AM 840, La

Tejana. Hacienda was a major contributor in the development of Tejano music

at time when many of the younger groups coming up had a scant few places to go

to record.

In 1980 a young lady named Lisa Lopez walked in the door. Everyone was awed

with her talent, but up till then, she had recorded exclusively in English and

the Garcias advisers thought she would be wasting her talent by recording

Spanish language music.

She was the real deal in terms of having everything it took to make it in the

English market, Rick Garcia said. Well, we went ahead with (recording in

Spanish). She put us on the map with Si Quieres Verme Llora, a tune by

Johnny Herrera.

Emilio and Ram Herrera recorded there while running with Los Musicales. Selena

cut a demo at the studio when she was 9. Rick Garcia recalled that during that

time, the label was running high with Lisa Lopez, so they were not

particularly looking for female artists.

Older established veterans like Los Dos Gilbertos, Tony De La Rosa, Ruben Vela

and Mingo Saldivar are back in the Hacienda fold after recording for other

labels. Younger veterans like Albert Zamora keep conjunto energized, while a

still-developing Marlisa Vela seeks success with contemporary strategies.

Where Zamoras album sticks to conjunto with tunes like Palabra De Honor,

and Tu Delirio, Velas album tends toward diversity with cumbias, norteno

and pop-international arrangements. Its got a little bit of everything,

said Vela about her album. A little bit of the Miami sound, a bit of

international and a whole lot of basic Tejano, she added.

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