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This Week in Texas Music History: Rudy T. Gonzalez

by Stephen Becker 2 Dec 2011 2:12 PM

This Week in Texas Music History, we honor a Texan who may have been the first jazz musician ever to record with an electric guitar.


Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman remembers one of the pioneers of Chicano Soul.

You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Sunday at precisely 6:04 p.m. on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.

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Rudy T. Gonzales was born on July 4, 1939, in San Antonio. Like other Tejano baby boomers of the World War II era, Gonzales grew up listening to the traditional Mexican folk music of his parents, but he was also drawn to the blues, R&B and rock and roll of his own generation. In 1955, while still in high school, Gonzales began performing with his band, Rudy T. and the Reno Bops. The group blended Latin influences with blues, R&B and rock and roll and sang in both English and Spanish.  By blending Mexican folk music with blues, R&B, pop and rock & roll, Rudy T. Gonzales helped create what some have called Chicano Soul, and he also paved the way for Tejano, Latin rap and many other popular styles.