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Nov 21 2018

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Final Lecture in Series to feature Leonel Betancourt, son of Paco

Pictured at the Texas Conjunto Hall of Fame & Museum are Armando Marroquin and Paco Betancourt, remembered for their contributions to Conjunto music.

By DAVID LOPEZ
Special to the NEWS

 

The Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame & Museum in partnership with the City of San Benito presents its third and final installment of “The History of Conjunto” Lecture Series on November 29th. Doors open at 6 p.m. and lecture begins at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Giving the lecture is Leonel Betancourt, son of Paco Betancourt, co-founder of the Ideal Recording Company along with Armando Marroquin. Leonel will discuss the work of his father and the cultural impact of the historic recording company in San Benito.
While the two previous lectures featured film screenings after each presentation, this event will feature vintage items from the early days of the Ideal Recording Company for attendees to behold and contemplate. Among the installations is an early 1960’s reel-to-reel AMPEX recording machine, a record display shelf filled with albums from the 1960’s to the ‘80s, an original 1950 Rio Grande Music Company sign, and several Ideal Records paper shopping bags and master recording tapes.
An artifact many continue to find intriguing due to its rarity is the raw vinyl material used to make records.
The history of the Ideal Record Company begins with the end of World War II when major recording companies like Columbia and RCA halted production of conjunto recordings, opening the opportunity for entrepreneurs Armando Marroquin and Paco Betancourt to begin the first Conjunto music label in San Benito.
The recording company began when Marroquin, who operated a jukebox business in Alice, Texas, realized that he had limited resources and that he knew virtually nothing about distribution. This is where Paco Betancourt came in, who owned the Rio Grande Music Company and understood record promotion and the broadcasting industry.
Marroquin and Betancourt partnered up, beginning the Ideal Recording Company in 1946 out of Marroquin’s living room, beginning by purchasing more equipment to keep up with their goal expansion. Marroquin was in charge of the handling the recordings by artists in his studio in Alice, Texas, which were then sent to Betancourt who would handle the manufacturing and distribution of the records.
Among the now famous musicians who recorded in the early days were Freddy Fender, Tony De La Rosa, and Gilberto Perez.
In San Benito, recordings were pressed, labeled, packaged, and distributed throughout both the United States and Mexico. By 1950, Ideal Recording Company became the leading producer of Tejano music in the entire Southwest.
Though the two men’s partnership ended in 1959, Betancourt’s Rio Grande Valley Music Co. continued to distribute Ideal records from San Benito. In 2008, the Betancourt family decided to donate all the equipment from the old recording studio to the Texas Conjunto Music Hall of Fame & Museum.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2018/11/21/final-lecture-in-series-to-feature-leonel-betancourt-son-of-paco/

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