Baldemar Garza Huerta: June 4, 1937 – October 14, 2006

Why Freddy Fender? Why today?

Because any day is a good day to remember one of the brightest of the shining Tejano lights, a genre-crossing  star who — along with artists like Doug Sahm, Flaco Jiménez, and Augie Meyers — introduced Tejano music  to the world and combined it with everything from country to rockabilly.

And above all, there was his  voice. His  angelic voice.

For all his recordings in English, and recordings in Spanish and English, he never sounded more at home — more content — than singing the Spanish of his native South Texas.

Lost love is a major theme in Tejano, Conjunto,  Norteño, and Canción Ranchera music. I can’t think of any other musical forms where tougher guys produce more tears.

And no “lost love”  song I know tugs at the heartstrings — mine, at least — more than Freddy’s “Before the Last Teardrop Falls.” He recorded several versions, but my favorite was done completely in Spanish. The best I could find combines Spanish  and English. The song was actually written as a country song by Vivian Keith and Ben Peters, but Freddy’s recording — the most famous — gave it the full-Tejano treatment.

Si te quiere de verdad

si te da felicidad

les deseo lo mas bueno a los dos

pero si te hace llorar

a mi me puedes hablar

yo estare contigo cuando triste estes

And here is Freddy, accompanied by the greatest living Conjunto accordionist — Flaco Jiménez — singing  el más grande de todas las canciones de amor perdido — “Volver, Volver.”