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El Second Weensdee" presents Los Palomos del Valle

WHAT:  "El Second Weensdee" conjunto music oral history series featuring local musicians

WHEN:  Wednesday, June 13, 2007; 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center 

     225 E. Stenger Street, San Benito, TX  


The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center continues to document local music history in this month’s “El Second Weensdee” featuring Conjunto Los Palomos del Valle.


Los Palomos del Valle, comprised of brothers Jose Luis and Roberto Chavez, were born into a poor working class family.  Jose Luis and Roberto worked from the age of 5 to help supplement their family’s income, working as shoeshine boys, dishwashers, newspaper boys, taqueros and tamaleros as well as field workers picking harvests in the Rio Grande Valley and west Texas.


After learning to play the guitar at the age of five, Jose Luis helped supplement the family income by singing in the cantinas and charging twenty five cents per song.  At the age of ten, Jose Luis asked his father to buy him an accordion and began teaching himself to play the instrument.  Roberto also began singing and playing the guitar at the age of five, and they both sang in the “aficionados” circuit in the local theatres in Harlingen and San Benito.


For many years, without fail both would win first and second places each of ten and five dollars.  Sometimes instead of money they received certificates to be traded for clothing.  For many years they were the local favorites at El Cine Grande, Azteca and Renex Theater in San Benito.


In 1967 the projectionist of the Azteca Theater came knocking at their door with a message.  The message was that Johnny Phillips, who ran the Rio Grande Music Company in San Benito, wanted to listen to Los Hermanitos Chavez sing for a possible recording with Ideal Records.  An appointment was made to visit with Mr. Phillips on that day, and he asked them to record “Frijolitos Pintos.”  The same year after that recording session Phillips baptized the conjunto as “Los Palomos del Valle,” presumably an appropriate name because of the brothers’ ages at the time – Jose Luis was about fifteen years old and Roberto eleven.  The complete conjunto at the time consisted of Jose Luis, Roberto, and Salvador Chavez Senior and Junior.


This recording was an instant hit on both sides of the Rio Grande.  Appearances immediately followed in “Aqui Rogelio,” where Los Palomos del Valle appeared many times.  That live radio program on Saturdays became a staple where the conjunto advertised and announced where they were appearing. 


The next record of Los Palomos to become a hit was a bolero titled “Tu y Yo.”  This recording became el exito de la semana on KGBT radio.  This recording opened the door for bigger and better things for Los Palomos del Valle.  The conjunto started touring up state where they performed with other conjunto legends such as Esteban Jordan, Flaco Jimenez, Ruben Vela, Joey Lopez y sus Guadalupanos, Los Fabulosos Cuatro, Little Joe, Pepe Maldonado y su conjunto.  West Texas towns in which Los Palomos performed included Muleshoe, Dimmitt, Plainvew, Lubbock, Littlefield, Friona, Bovina, Hart, Floydada, Levelland, Ralls and Olton.  In the Rio Grande Valley Los Palomos performed at La Villita, the Blue Moon in Pharr and Vera’s Palladium in Weslaco. 


Other recordings with Ideal Records followed, most songs being Salvador Chavez’s compositions.  In 1969 Los Palomos moved on to record with Del Valle Records, where they recorded “Que Rechulo es el Amor,” a song that became a hit and another exito de la semana.  Recordings with Del Valle received incredible air play on the local radio stations and more performing engagements for Los Palomos.


In 1970, Los Palomos were invited by El Pato records to record for them and several recordings followed.  A re-recording of their hit “Tu y Yo” was made.  Other recordings made with El Pato remain uncut.


In 1972 Jose Luis was drafted and enlisted in the armed forces.  Los Palomos del Valle disappeared from the scene, since Roberto also joined the Army and left.


Upon his return, Jose Luis pursued his university studies and became an educator for a period of twenty nine years.  He returned to playing the accordion and has now been performing for twelve years with the Mexican American Band.  Roberto returned to the Valley after separation from the Army, enrolled at the university and is presently a Border Patrol Officer.  He and his sons formed “Los Tesoros de Cristo” an presently play Christian music in various churches around the Valley.


            Jose Luis and Roberto Chavez will tell their story and perform at the next “El Second Weensdee,” a conjunto music oral history series presented by NMCAC every second Wednesday of the month.  Local, state, and national musicians are invited to participate in this program where they discuss the history and importance of Conjunto music.  A reception follows the presentation.  Admission is $5.


The Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center preserves, promotes and advances the rich cultural heritage of the “Mexicano” community through arts programming.  For more information contact Dr. Ramon De Leon at (956) 425-6344.   

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Gold Member
Posts: 478
Wow didnot know that this was here at Reyes. Thanks!
Jose Luis Chavez

Posts: 92
Interesting story about you Jose and your family! Thanks for posting Cristina Balli!

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