|A box of my LP's.|
One of the most common questions I get asked is, "Where do I find this music?" So this week I felt it would be a good time to recommend nearby stores that sell authentic, physical copies of Tejano, conjunto, and norteño music. While I know there are probably plenty of stores all across the Rio Grande Valley, these are four places near where I live (the Pharr-McAllen area) that I can vouch for without hesitation.
—RyN Music & Wireless, 209 S. 23rd St. in McAllen - Here you can find CD releases from the RyN record label, along with different labels that display a variety of regional music from Mexico and Texas, old and new. There is stuff here you won't find anywhere else. This place has been owned and operated by the musical Cavazos family for decades. Along with the rare CD's, one of my favorite things about this place is that you never know when an impromptu jam session is about the break out. The last time I went, the 87-year-old Ramiro Cavazos was being visited by a middle-aged bajo-sexto player and a young accordionist who appeared to be in his mid-twenties. After a lively conversation, Cavazos got his guitar and bajo-sexto, and all three musicians started playing old polkas and ranchers. It was amazing. Latest item I bought here: El Cachorro y El Donneño, Juan Villarreal y Ramiro Cavazos, Polkas, Redovas y Mas... (Discos RyN, 2012).
—H-E-B, 1300 S Cage Blvd. in Pharr and 901 E. Expressway 83 in San Juan - I only attend these two H-E-B's, so I can't speak for any others in the Hidalgo County. Both of these stores have a surprisingly good selection of musical releases. The San Juan store has a section of good DVD's, some of which include video footage of 1990's Selena and early 2000's Elida Reyna. Some DVD's I've reviewed here in the past (Valerio Longoria, Flaco Jimenez) are available for purchase at this outlet. The Pharr store has plenty of CD's to look through, including Gilberto Perez, Los Badd Boyz Del Valle, Los Texmaniacs, and Little Joe Hernandez. Latest item I bought here: Tejano Roots - Tony de la Rosa - Atotonilco (Arhoolie Records, 1993).
—Novedades Musicales Martinez, 211 N Cage Blvd in Pharr - One day earlier this year I woke and thought, "I want to listen to some more Paulino Bernal music." I remembered that this store was a few blocks from my house. I had gone in the past to buy tickets to go see El Hijo Del Santo perform, but had never actually checked out their collection of music. So I ended up going later that day, and asked if they had any Conjunto Bernal music. They took me to the shelf where I could find Tejano and conjunto CD's, which ended up having about a dozen different Bernal titles. I picked one titled El Maestro Del Acordeon Y Sus Polkas. Also I saw that they had other releases from stars like Carlos Guzman, Roberto Pulido, and Santiago Jimenez Jr. Latest item I bought here: Mi Manzanita by Santiago Jimenez Jr. and Don Jose Moreno (JB Records, 2006).
—Valley Vinyls, 2201 N 10th St. Suite I in McAllen - I first went here in the Spring of 2011, when a friend invited me to go check it out after my dad gave me his old Magnavox stereophonic micromatic power transistor record player. On that first visit I bought three Esteban Jordan LP's that were in solid to good condition for $15.00 — Ahorita, Mirada Que Facina, and My Toot Toot. Later I picked up a sealed Wally Gonzalez Falcón Records LP titled Las Mujeres y las novelas. What I love about going through crates of old vinyl records is that feeling of finding a hidden gem that most have forgotten about, or maybe never even knew existed. Last time I was there in August, I saw a sealed LP of Los Layton's of Edcouch-Elsa. I didn't have money that day to buy it, so it's still there in case anyone is interested. Latest item I bought here: Cariñito De Mi Vida by Angel Flores (Freddie Records, 1978).