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 in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a man who proved “Ideal” for recording classic Texas-Mexican music.
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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Paco Betancourt died on Sept. 5, 1971. Born in Mexico in 1903, he and his family fled to Texas in 1910 during the Mexican Revolution. Betancourt went on to establish the Rio Grande Music Company in San Benito, Texas, and the Queen Theater in Brownsville, which is believed to be the first cinema in South Texas to show talking movies. In 1946, he joined producer Armando Marroquín to found Discos Ideal, also known as Ideal Records. It soon became the biggest label in Texas-Mexican music and helped launch the careers of numerous artists, including Beto Villa, Freddy Fender and the popular duo Carmen y Laura.
Paco Betancourt and Armando Marroquín parted ways in 1959. However, they helped change the musical landscape of Texas by recording and promoting some of the state’s most influential Mexican-American artists.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll recall a bar fight that helped start a worldwide country music craze.