A singing legend
By ANASTACIO S. MILAN
Someday there might be a movie made about a singer who evolved during the Rock and Roll era. Singing legends of the fifties include Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis and other young, teen idols too numerous to mention. Elvis Presley is in a class by himself and recognized as the King of Rock and Roll. More musical groups came into the picture that brought more variety and talent.
A young singer made his way and blended into the music craze of the times. Contrary to the fast and rapid pace of Rock and Roll, his music was romantically smooth. His first sound motivated teenagers to the rhythm of slow dancing music. The beat of the soft, mellow music was certainly the trademark of Rhythm and Blues, which developed with much popularity. Rhythm and Blues included male and female singers, as well as groups. Much of this music is now identified as Doo Wop.
The young singer was making his way to the top when misfortune struck. He was apprehended and charged with possession.
He was sentenced to serve time in prison. And so, that music and talent was cut short and confined. Nevertheless, Rock and Roll took its course and headed forward full speed ahead till the national tragedy of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It was a mourning period for the nation and music following that fateful day in November.
One day a young man, involved in his job of washing cars was singing happily involved in his task. A prominent businessman heard and recognized the voice. He approached the young singer and asked him his name. “Here’s my card,” said the prominent person to the financially deprived young man. “Go see me or give me a call so that we may arrange something.”
Things fell into place and it was another start for the once would-be popular recording artist and former inmate. The first song in a different realm of music was a smash hit. More songs started to surface, concerts, special appearances, recognition, music awards and everything that goes with a singing sensation. It appeared to be highlighted success in the music of the times. Fame and fortune, the spotlight, and a fascinating role was amazingly continuous for the decades to follow.
The last part of the story involves health problems and complications. Family, love and “the gift of life” contribute to happiness and blessings in the final episode. Thus, the story closes as the final farewell is bade to Baldemar Huerta, known as Freddy Fender, one of the few Tejanos and Hispanics to make it in the realms of Rock and Roll, Country Music and cinema. A singing legend who is an integral part of Hispanic culture and heritage will be remembered. Those who knew Freddy Fender, will add to his life story and, as did Paul Harvey, say, “and that’s the rest of the story.”
An Alpine native, Anastacio S. Milán is a retired public school educator, a sometimes contributor to The Big Bend Sentinel, and a columnist for the Zavala County Sentinel in Crystal City, his hometown.
Story filed under: Big Bend Blog