Ramos—a Grammy winner, member of the Pura Vida and Tejano Music Awards Halls of Fame—is known as “one of the smoothest singers and classiest band leaders in the history of the genre [música tejana],” according to Ramiro Burr, in his Billboard Guide to Tejano and Regional Mexican Music.
At the Tejano Music Awards, based in San Antonio, he received: Best Performance—Male (March 1999) and Video of the Year (March 1999).
With a family musical heritage of over 80 years of collective history, Ramos-Pérez, born in Sugarland, Texas, has deep roots en la música tejana.
According to www.rubenramos.com, “The Ramos musical legacy began in post-World War I Texas. Rubén’s tios began performing after World War I in 1919 as Juan Manuel Pérez and the Serenaders (Los Serenateros). Between 1919 and 1941, the Serenaders eventually included all nine of Rubén’s uncles.
At the start of World War II, five of the Pérez brothers went into the military. Rubén’s grandmother proudly displayed the small banner with five stars representing five sons in service during the war. The Serenaders took a military-break.
At the end of World War II, Rubén’s uncles returned. Tio Justin re-grouped as Justin Pérez and His Ex-GIs. They established themselves as a “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,” according to www.rubenramos.com.
Inez, Elijio, Alfonso, Rubén, Joe, and Roy Ramos emerge
Rubén’s sister Inez had joined the band as singer in 1947. Then, in his early teens, Rubén’s older brother, Alfonso Ramos Jr., joined their uncle's group.
According to www.rubenramos.com, in the mid 1950s, the band became the Alfonso Ramos Orchestra. Rubén continued with the band on weekends, increasingly singing English cover R&B tunes, while he worked with the Texas insurance department.
All five Ramos brothers—Alfonso, Elijio, Rubén, Joe, and Roy—were performing. As the orchestra’s drummer, Rubén performed throughout the 1960s with Alfonso’s band. The band played a mix of tunes, from cha chas and cumbias to boleros and rancheras and from country to rock. Rubén provided the vocals and the push to many of the English songs the band played.
According to www.rubenramos.com, in 1969, Rubén’s brother Roy made a move to spread the Ramos’ family legacy. Ruben joined him as the new band’s front man. Brother Alfonso’s orchestra was at the top of its game and Rubén was in a position to maximize the talent available from the Ramos brothers. He formed the “Mexcian Revolution.”
The name was picked because the 1970s saw the emergence of the Chicano civil rights movements. The band played the Texas 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, or La Onda Tejana, became the new term for the music and Rubén changed the band name to the “Texas Revolution” because he felt Tejanos were getting an identity in Texas.
In 1987, Alfonso and Rubén 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 became his nickname.
“I’m a horn’s man,” explains Rubén. “There ain’t nothing like a wall of sound—real sound—coming at you.” This depiction characterizes the sound of El Gato Negro—horns, drums with crashing cymbals, accordion so real you can hear the clicks of the buttons.
The Texas Revolution consists of: Joe Ramos (keyboards, guitar, vocals), Roy Ramos (bass), Alberto “Skeeter” Amesquita (trumpet and vocals), Rick Fuentes (accordion, percussion, guitar, vocals), Rick Reyes (drums), and, of course, Rubén Ramos (lead vocals).
The Lenawee County Fair is Michigan’s longest running fair—since 1839. Ramos completes the fair on Saturday, August 20th. Be there!
Tickets for the 7:00PM performance are $20 for all seats and may be purchased on-line at www.starticketsplus.com, at any Meijer stores or the Lenawee County Fair and Event Grounds office (Mon-Fri, 9:00AM-4:00PM), or by calling 1-800-585-3737.
Wayne County Community College District celebrates Latino heritage
In Taylor on August 20th, explore the many facets of traditional Latino cultures at the Wayne County Community College District’s (WCCCD) Hispanic Heritage Festival, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Downriver Campus, 21000 Northline Road.
This family-oriented event, sponsored through the WCCCD-Continuing Education Department, will celebrate the talents, creativity and achievements of the Latino culture.
Children of all ages can participate in a baseball clinic and autograph session with former Detroit Tiger Barboro Garbey from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. followed by a soccer clinic sponsored by the Downriver Family YMCA from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Teaching of Latino contributions, and learning about the cultures from which they come, will be the focal point of the workshop activities and discussions. The event will also include displays of Latino art by Nora Chapa-Mendoza and Casa de Unidad Cultural Arts Center.
The master of ceremonies will be Jimmy Barrios and guest speaker Ozzie Rivera will discuss “Exploring Latin Caribbean Rhythms” from 3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. in the Ray Mix Community Room.
Traditional dancing will be provided by Mariachi Especial Alma de México, Boricua Soul, Argentine Tango, Baile Folkforico Mexicano, and music by Grupo Salvaje.
Educational and fun activities featuring Dora the Explorer, Arts and Scraps, clowns, face painting, and a piñata contest will be available in the children’s tent throughout the day. Latino vendors will be selling their wares and El Maguey Restaurant in Taylor will have a variety of entrees to enjoy.
The event is open to the public at no cost. For more information or to pre-register for the WCCCD Hispanic Heritage Festival, contact the Downriver Campus at 734-946-3500.
South of the Border
Meanwhile, the South of the Border festival is this weekend, August 12-14, in the Perrysburg Heights area of Ohio. On tap is music by Grupo Sueño, Grupo Dezeo, Jimmy Bejarano y Los Cuatro Vientos, Los Rayos, 56 Daze, the other Rubén Ramos y La Familia, Grupo Energia, and Los Bad Boyz; a jalapeño eating contest, ballet folklorico Imagenes Mexicanas, y más.