I arrived at La Villita Dance hall with about 2 minutes to spare before we opened the door. There was a line of about 50 people waiting to get in. I was really excited about this night. Little Joe and Ruben Ramos were in the house tonight and I was just going crazy waiting for the dance to start.
The doors were opened promptly at 7:30 sharp. I greeted each couple that walked in. They had that same look in their eye that I did. It was mostly, ?Hurry, hurry let?s get the best seat in the house.?
The dance would not start until 9:00 p.m. and the people were getting a little bit anxious for the dance to start. Everyone made sure they had their set-ups and what not ready. I met up with a lot of my old friends from high school and I saw a lot of my son?s friends there also. This made me feel great because we had young and old fans in the house. They were all decked in their Sunday?s best. The time now was ?9:00 p.m. ?SHOW TIME!
Javier Villanueva, CEO and President of Tejano R.o.o.t.s., introduced Ruben Ramos with great enthusiasm. The band started with a lively blues sound with an awesome horn section. But there was no Ruben Ramos. Suddenly I heard cheers coming from the crowd and my eyes strayed towards the middle of the dance floor. There was Ruben Ramos, right in the middle, strutting his stuff to the music?. What an entrance. Ruben made his way to the stage and the party began. Ruben gave the signal and?BOOM?. The band gave the opening bars to ?El Gato Negro?. The dance floor was quickly filled with everyone dancing and trying to glance the stage at the same time. I was standing to the left of the stage trying to get as close as I could just to get a ?front row? view of another Tejano Music moment being transformed into history. I saw Rick Fuentes (accordion player) pushing and pulling the bellows with the intensity of a ?blacksmith? on an anvil. With a beginning like this I knew that it could only get better.
Without skipping a beat the horn section started the intro to ?Conchita la Viuda Alegre?. The people were responding very well. They were doing the one thing that they had not forgotten?.DANCING. To see their happy, youthful looking faces was pure heaven. I don?t know what the next song was but Joe Ramos, Ruben?s brother and the guitar/keyboard player, started tearing it up with his awesome guitar playing. He would continually alternate between both instruments.
Ruben then stomped the beat to the next song. ?Juana La Cubana?. Puro Chicanisimo sounds people. I wish that everyone in the world could have made it to the dance. The horn section just kept getting better. Jacob Lampe (flute) Steve Sanchez (trumpet, fugle horn), and Marcus White (I think) did an absolute amazing job. These guys added some choreography to their playing. They put on a great show without compromising the music. Ruben went on to sing songs like ? Mi prieta Consentida?, ?Adios Mi Prieta Linda? (very impressive 3 part harmony in this song). Ruben sang ?Somos Novios? with his brother Joe adding the classical piano sound to the music. Jacob and Steve did some incredible solos on this tune. Playing up and down the scales with the precision of very seasoned veterans of music.
Ruben then did ?Un Dia La Vez? professing his love and belief in Jesus Christ. The next song really left me in awe. ? El Silencio De La Noche.? Absolutely beautiful 3 part Harmony by Ruben, his brother Joe, and Rick Fuentes. They sounded like a chorus from heaven. In the last verse the band went to ?pianissimo? and the vocals went into a ?forte? that just added beauty to the contrast in sound.
Ruben then talked to the audience and told them that the son of a legend was in the house. He said that this legend was his HERO. A tear ran down my cheek when he said that this legend was my father, the late Juan Sifuentes Sr. Ruben then played one of my favorite songs ?Vehicle?. Man I got chills up and down my spine from the pure sound of the horn section. Joe on the guitar and Ruben's other brother Rogelio Ramos was doing and incredible job on the bass. The legendary Rick Reyes was totally in his element with his weapon of choice?the drums.
There was a crowd gathered by the stage by now just absorbing all the beautiful music. Ruben started with a medley of his signature songs and the dance floor was full as well as a large crowd by the stage. Ruben went into ?Paloma Negra? with gritos from everyone, young and old. The song was finished with some extra ordinary guitar playing by Joe Ramos. It was like a ?flamenco solo? with the electric guitar. This left me saying to myself, ?I am not worthy, I am not worthy!? They all did a superb job and they definitely had fun doing what they do best.
Ruben ended his session telling the people to make sure and go home and tell their children to stay in school and get a good education. But most of all he told them to teach their children about our culture and beautiful music.
I have to apologize to everyone because I could not stay for Little Joe?s awesome show. I had to get up at 5:00 a.m. to go to work. I did get to hear his opening song. ?America the Beautiful.? What a beginning folks. After he sang the song he went into ?Por una Mujer Casada.? As I made my exit I could see the dance floor just crowded with people. What could I possibly tell you about Little Joe that you don?t already know? He is still the King of the Brown Sound and I don?t think I see anyone taking that Crown anytime soon?Man I know I missed something great.
All in All , MI Gente, I hope that I gave a little bit of justice to Ruben Ramos and The Mexican Revolution as well as THE KING?Little Joe. I heard that Ruben joined Little Joe on stage and did a couple of songs together?Ruben has to be the ?Coolest Cat? this side of the galaxy and Little Joe?well?HE?S THE KING!
Juan Sifuentes Jr.:
Juan Sifuentes Jr. is on the Board-of-Directors for Tejano R.o.ot.s. in Alice,Texas. He is a second generation Tejano Singer and a security guard for Halliburton