Photo Credit: Miguel Vargas from the Miguel Angel Studio Blog.
The last few years, there's been some very enjoyable things written about South Texas music. Whether it's Spanish, English or Spanglish, I'm pretty interested in listening to all old school Valley music I can get a hold of. Back in March 2010, my friend Denise Flores posted this great Monitor article on her Facebook that introduced me to the music and story of Christopher and the Souls. Since then, Weslaco-based blogger Andres Sanchez has also written about Christopher and the Souls over at his great music blog The Photon God. Today, I was going to write a little bit about another old school Valley musician.
Simon Reyes was born in Weslaco, Texas on 1947, and he became part of a family that had two brothers and four sisters. As a child, he already had a strong affection towards music. His little brother Noe "Rudy" Reyes informs us of some of Simon's adventures as a child, "he would perform on a TV show from Weslaco called the Molten Ty Cobb show. He would paint fake sideburns and pretend to play a guitar without strings while he sang "Hound Dog" and he would also dance like Elvis and would perform this way on the TV show."
Eventually in the 1960's, Simon Reyes dropped out of high school during his sophomore year. A while after this, he had his own group and toured across the Valley playing at various venues. He also spent some time in Galveston, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana where he recorded approximately 19 to 20 songs. His brother Noe says that these tunes have not been released or that they could have been lost forever.
Before his band "The Outerlimits", the name of his first band was called "The Vikings". He then formed "Simon Reyes and The Outerlimits", a band that was together for over six years. But the rest of the band changed from time to time with Simon being the only consistent band member. These two songs, "Mistake Number Three" and "My Baby Hurts Me" were both recorded at the McAllen Pharaoh record label in 1967. These songs were written by Reyes and performed by him and "the Outerlimits". I really love both songs a lot, both are extremely catchy pop numbers and Simon Reyes had a really great voice. Here are the two songs for your listening pleasure:
The name of his next band after "The Outerlimits" was called "The Gypsies" and then the last band he played with was "Simon Reyes and the Bourbon Street Bums". Rudy "Noe" Reyes elaborates, "he was always the front man for all these groups and he was the one who brought them together and named the bands himself."
But on November 15, 1974, Simon Reyes passed away due to heroin overdose near his home in Weslaco. Like some other musicians of that time period, he was 27 years old when he died due to drug overdose. After his death, San Benito's icon Freddy Fender informed Rudy "Noe" Reyes that Simon might have had a son somewhere in California or New Orleans.
One of Simon Reyes' songs was a part of the soundtrack to an independent film called Broken Promise, which was produced by Mercedes resident Eddie Howell. Also at the moment, Rudy "Noe" Reyes is attempting to pay tribute to his brother with a display at the Weslaco Museum and the museum is looking forward to seeing what "Noe" will present to them.
On October 3rd, 2010, the City of Weslaco proclaimed the day "Simon Reyes Day" and handed over a plaque to the Reyes family that was engraved with the following words: "Simon Reyes. Rio Grande Valley Rock and Roll Legend". At the upcoming Rudstock Music Festival that is taking place on June 10th-June 12th in Edinburg, Texas, there will be a Simon Reyes display that will include photographs, records, and other items paying tribute to the Weslaco musician. So be sure to check out the Rudstock Music Festival if you're interested in learning more about Simon Reyes.
This is Simon Reyes' Discography:
1. I'm A Hog For You Baby/(cover?) - Simon Reyes
2. Just By Touching Your Hand - Simon Reyes
3. Make Believe - Simon Reyes
4. Happy Song - Simon Reyes
5. My Baby Hurts Me - Simon Reyes
6. Mistake Number Three - Simon Reyes
7. People Laugh - Simon Reyes
8. Caminito, Caminito - Simon Reyes
9. Broken Hearted Fool - Simon Reyes
10. I'm Gonna Love You Anyway - Simon Reyes
11. Mama, Mama (Spanish) - Simon Reyes
12. Mama, Mama (English) - Simon Reyes
13. What Now My Love (cover) - Simon Reyes
14. Amor De La Calle - Simon Reyes
15. The Pregnant Cow - Simon Reyes
16. El Coyote (cover) - Simon Reyes
17.La Barca (cover) - Simon Reyes
18. Tejano Enamorado (cover) - Simon Reyes
19.La Bola Negra (cover) - Simon Reyes
Thanks to my brother Angel for informing me about this musician. Huge thanks to Noe "Rudy" Reyes for all the great information he provided me with. Also, thanks to Miguel Vargas for the Weslaco water tower photo, and check out his great photography blog. For more information, Garage Hangover has some great stuff.