Rancho Alegre Conjunto Festival Artist Spotlight: Pico Ramirez

Pico RamirezPico Ramirez has a storied career backing up some of the most respected accordionists in la Onda. Pico is a Tejano R.O.O.T.S. Hall of Famer, but what he's most known for is being the right-hand man to "El Clark Gable de la Onda Chicana," Ruben Naranjo.

In 1972, Ruben borrowed money from his mother to buy a car. He used the money to build a set of loud speakers instead and recruited three local musicians to join his first conjunto. The group would be christened Ruben Naranjo y Los Gamblers. Mario Galvan, Jesse Lerma, and Pico Ramirez rounded out the original Gamblers' lineup.

Pico played the bajo sexto and would back Ruben on vocals. Pico's vocals can be heard on many pivotal Gamblers' tunes including, "Angel de Mis Anhelos," "Las Olas," "Graciela," "Por Esa Clalle Vive," and "Mis Ojos Querendones." While with Los Gamblers, Pico toured all over the US and the northern part of Mexico. His music skills took him to Michigan, Florida, California, and all over Texas. Ruben Naranjo y Los Gamblers would headline many shows alongside groups as equally as legendary as they are today. For instance, Los Gamblers toured with Los Cadetes de Linares and Los Alegres de Terán. After Pico's tenure with Los Gamblers ended, he went on to tour with other Alice-area bands including a stint with the legendary, Chano Cadena.

Pico has five sons that have all followed in this footsteps. His son, Joe Ramirez plays accordion. Another of Pico's sons is a vocalist and three more play bajo sexto just like their father. Among them, Roger Ramirez has assumed the role his father once had. Roger is a second-generation Gambler as he is currently the bajo sexto player for Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers.

After so many years off the road, Pico can't resist the temptation to get on stage every now and then. Come witness this original Gambler tear-up the stage with his boy Joe Ramirez y su Conjunto live Sunday, May 7th at Stubb's Austin!

Spread the Word about Rancho Alegre Radio