Night Music: Freddie Fender and Flaco Jimenez, “Until the Next Teardrop Falls”

I was put in mind of Flaco Jimenez today because I found that clip of Cooder and Evans from a Les Blank film I haven’t seen. Flaco Jimenez was in that band, as well as many others I’ve admired over the years.

The first Les Blank film I saw was called Chulas Fronteras, Beautiful Frontiers, and it was about the Tejano culture that straddles the Mexican and Texas border. They play a fantastically rhythmic, ecstatic, danceable music there called Norteno, a blend of polka and Mexican corrida and other forms, that takes Mexican emotion and fuses it with Germanic precision.

I always think of Linda Ronstadt’s funny line, that her problem in her life was that she ended up singing like a German and thinking like a Mexican, her parental lineages. Give us more of that.

Freddy Fender was Tejano and perhaps the biggest Mexican pop star up to his time, and he constantly battled the problems of getting real and feeding the international music machine (witness the hair). Feeding wins, up to a point. In that context, this song is far from pure, but it is a hit for obvious and well earned reasons.

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