Sonidos y Mas

The Texas 30: Texas' 6 Best Latin Albums of the Past 30 Years

As I was reviewing the list of The Texas 30, in the back of my mind I kept thinking one thing...

"Where my brown people at?!"


The Texas 30 (cover story)

Slideshow: The Texas 30 album covers

Listen To Our Texas 30 Picks On Rdio and Spotify Right Now

Sure, Queen Selena rightfully made the list with Amor Prohibido, but over the past 30 years, especially in the '90s, many more Tejano artists created masterpiece albums that elevated Tejano to the same rank as the best of the best in Texas rock and blues.

Throw in a Texican Rock & Roll band from San Angelo and a Mexican rapper from South Park HTX, put the fajitas on the grill and the cervezas on ice, and you have one helluva party.

6. Los Lonely Boys, Los Lonely Boys (2004) The Garza Brothers... Henry, JoJo, and Ringo, play with a determination and heart that is only dwarfed by their robust sound. It will always amaze me how awesome a 3-piece band consisting of a lead guitar, a bassist, and a drummer can sound just as great if not better that bands twice or even triple their size.

The album's lead single "Heaven" was one of the biggest hits of the year across the charts, leading to an invitation to join Carlos Santana on his world tour. You can catch Los Lonely Boys at House of Blues next Saturday, December 22.

5. Emilio, Emilio Live (1993) Emilio Navaira, along with his brother Raul and his band Grupo Rio, dominated the Tejano airwaves and dance floors throughout the state. Chicanos and Tejanos, second- and third-generation children of Mexican descent, wore Ropers boots and Wranglers jeans as they ushered in the cowboy mentality into the Tejano movement, listening to Emilio's "Como Le Hare" and "Sensaciones" in their step-side Chevy trucks as they cruised down Irvington or Airline Drive on Houston's the North Side on Sunday nights. Tejano jams at their finest.

4. La Mafia, Estas Tocando Fuego (1991) The "Pride of The North Side," La Mafia made waves with their mix of traditional Mexican corridos and cumbias with a contemporary keyboard-driven pop sound. They were the first Tejano artists to sell more than 1 million units, and enjoyed crossover hits with Marc Anthony and others. Estas Tocando Fuego and La Mafia were praised as "Album of the Year" and "Group of the Year" on Billboard Latino, and continue to live in the hearts of Tejanos everywhere.

3. Intocable, Llevame Contigo (1996) This band from the border town of Zapata, Texas marks another shift in the Tejano story, one that is heavily influenced by norteño and conjunto musicians like Ramon Ayala, but interspersed with romantic pop ballads that pulled at the Tejano nation's collective heartstrings.

Intocable became so popular that they even headlined the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo's Go Tejano Day and drew a then-record 70,104 fans in 2003. Their influence continues as inspiration for other megastar groups like Duelo, Siggno, and La Costumbre.

2. Grupo Mazz, Lo Hare Por Ti (1992) These days, Joe Lopez is incarcerated, and Jimmy Gonzalez is out touring with his own band. But back when they were together, the possibilities were endless. This band from Brownsville not only had that sleepy border town behind them, but also the whole Rio Grande Valley. Joe's voice was golden, complemented by Jimmy's instrumentation and composition of the best Tejano music of the decade.

1. South Park Mexican, The 3rd Wish: To Rock The World (1999) I'm Mexican. I went to high school in South Park. But there can only be one South Park Mexican, and that is the bald-headed, raspy-voiced force named Carlos Coy. His story is one of true hustle and ambition, creating his own label (Dope House Records) and his own legend from the ground up.

Sometime in the year 2000, I was involved with a promotions company that helped book SPM in a car show in Pasadena. It was then that I finally met the man, and became entranced at his magnetism, charm and talent. It all came crashing down soon after, as he was convicted of sexual assault of a child in 2002 and sentenced to 45 years in prison.

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When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Houston Press contributor Marco both writes and points his camera lens toward the vibrant Houston music scene and beyond.