Freddy Fender - May 16, 2014

We at the American Treasure Tour blog are slowly coming to the realization that we have been having way too much fun writing about the record albums on our walls for the last few weeks. We promise to mix things up again soon, but we simply have to talk about Freddy Fender today.  His album Before The Next Teardrop Falls is located just above eye level, and below The Partridge Family Sound Magazine (in time, in time...).  But Freddy is a rare find in popular music:  a Mexican-American artist whose blend of country and rock & roll music reached number one in both genres.

Baldemar Garza Huerta was born in San Benito, Texas on June 4th, 1937.  He had a natural gift with music, singing on the radio before his eleventh birthday.  At seventeen, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and got into some trouble due to substance abuse before returning to private life and his musical career.  In 1958, he legally changed his name to Fender, after the guitar and amplifier manufacturer.  He felt Freddy complimented the name nicely, and it was official.  Before The Next Teardrop Falls is not only Fender's first album, released in 1974, but also his biggest seller.  Number one in the country charts, number twenty in the States, it includes his two biggest hits, including "Teardrop" and "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights."  He released a total of twenty albums prior to his death in 2006 from lung cancer.  His dying wish was to be the first Mexican-American inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  We can hope that it happens for him....

QUESTION:

Which of the following styles of music proved a big influence on Freddy's musical stylings?

a)  Swamp pop

b)  Grunge rock

c)  Latino club

d)  Gangsta rap

e)  Folk ballad

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

It seems like part of the American dynamic is to wander.  Emigration to the colonies, then internal migration from east to west, were to be expected during a time when vast unclaimed lands could easily be found towards the sun.  Today in 1843, the first major wagon train departed from Elm Grove, Missouri, just outside of Kansas City, Missouri, heading west on the Oregon Trail. Over one thousand pioneers were looking for opportunity in the Pacific Northwest, optimistic to start new lives on the west coast.  Although many dangers lay in store for them, very few raids by Native Americans are recorded to have ever happened during these migrations, despite the depiction in Hollywood..  More deadly to the original settlers were the constant threats of dehydration, hunger, accidents and disease.  

Today marks the landmark beginning of a tradition that has influenced the movie-going habits of people both in the United States and across the world.  In 1929, the very first Academy Awards were handed out to creators of cinematic magic in the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard. The Roosevelt was only two years old when the ceremony occurred in its Blossom Ballroom for only 250 attendees.  The William Wellman-directed film Wings won the big prize that day - the only completely silent film to ever have the honor.

BIRTHDAYS:

Speaking of Academy Awards, we would like to celebrate the birthday of an Oscar-winning actor who not only starred in many important films during his own illustrious career, but also was the patriarch of a family of other acclaimed actors.  Henry Fonda was born today in 1905. Although the family can trace its heritage to the New Netherland colony (which predates New York), Henry was born in Grand Island, Nebraska.  A shy boy, he loved the theater and started acting in his youth.  It paid off, because he was cast as Tom Joad in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath in 1940, the politically charged Ox-Bow Incident three years later, as well as many other noteworthy films before going to the Central Pacific during World War II.  Playing good-natured protagonists made his turn as the ruthless villain Frank in 1968's Once Upon a Time in the West that much more dramatic.

The name is Brosnan.  Pierce Brosnan.  Born in Ireland on this day in 1953, Brosnan moved to the United States at the age of 29, anxious to break into Hollywood once he received his training on the London stage.  It took a few more years before he obtained his American citizenship, which happened in 2004, but better late than never.  His first major role was in television, as the main character in the popular program Remington Steele from 1982 to 1987.  He had been targeted to replace Roger Moore in the roll of James Bond upon Moore's retirement in the late-1980s, but contractual obligations forbade him from being cast until 1995, with the extremely popular GoldenEye.  He made four Bond films before Daniel Craig replaced him as the iconic super spy.  He continues to make films of all sorts to this day.

QuOTE:  We owe it to our children to be better stewards of the environment.  The alternative?  A world without whales.  It's too terrible to imagine. - Pierce Brosnan

Answer:  a) Swamp pop.  In fact, in 1978, Freddy released an album called Swamp Gold.