Tejana Recording Artist Tejano music in the last few years has gained popularity throughout the state of Texas, the U.S., Latin America, Europe, and Japan. One person who made her mark in the early years of Tejano music was Linda Escobar of Alice, Texas.
Linda was born to Eligio and Jesusita Escobar in 1958 in Alice, Tx. Linda credits her love of music to her father. At the age of three her father, who was a truck driver, was involved in an automobile accident that claimed five lives and left him bedridden for a year. He was now disabled for life and with the urging of family and friends he decided to start singing for a living.
Linda recalls being alone with her dad when he was sick and she would listen to him practicing his guitar and singing. She soon memorized every song that he recorded and other songs she heard on the radio.
When she was six years old, Eligio was performing at La Villita Dance Hall in Alice and she begged him to let her sing a song. At first he denied her, thinking she would forget the words or get nervous. But Linda persisted and she sang her first song in public. The song was "La Bola Negra".
There was a deejay in the audience from radio station KROB in Robstown and he asked Elijio to bring Linda to his radio program the next morning to sing a few songs live on the air. They went and several people called in advising Elijio to record her.
In 1964, at the age of six, Linda recorded her first record at Armando Marroquin's recording studio in Alice under the Ideal record label. The song was "La Huerfanita" and the flip side was "La Bola Negra". Elijio was touring the state with a group called "Los Guadalupanos de Joey Lopez" and she joined them as a vocalist.
By the age of eight, Linda recorded her first hit song, "Los Frijolitos Pintos", earning her a gold record and selling more than 250,000 copies. That song opened the doors for her and she signed a recording contract with BEGO Records and started touring nationwide.
They toured with big name stars such as Lucha Villa, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, Cantinflas, Tony De La Rosa, Carlos Guzman, and Los Relampagos through California and big cities such as Chicago. Linda says, "It was an experience of a lifetime, touring with so many big name artists and having the public accept you as an equal with them."
She continued recording and performing throughout her childhood. In 1975 she graduated from high school and got married. She continued her musical career recording with Tony De La Rosa under his record label and also did a duet with Al "Chato" Chavarria from "El Grupo Mayo". She did stop touring long enough to give birth in the late '70s to her two daughters, Imelda and Glenda.
In the 1980s Linda formed her own band, "Zamen" utilizing keyboards and recording under Supremo Label. She recorded commercial jingles for national companies and formed a partnership with David Hernandez of Cielo Band and recorded under Hacienda Records. She also did a duet with Tony Guerrero and "La Sombra" called "All I Could". In 1986 she gave birth to her son Jon.
In 1987 Linda decided to go back to conjunto music and recorded with Los Hermanos Cadena (Vol. I) under DINA Records. She was awarded Conjunto Female Vocalist of the Year at the West Texas Music Awards in Lubbock that year. In 1988 she formed her own conjunto and recorded Vol. II and in 1990 she recorded Vol. III also under DINA, featuring songs by internationally known songwriter Johnny Herrera of Corpus Christi.
In 1993 Linda recorded "Sin Problemas" under Hacienda Records featuring three songs with her father including the famous corrido written by Elijio, "El Gambler".
In 1994 Elijio Escobar passed away with cancer. Linda felt that she couldn't continue her musical career without him so she retired from the music scene until this year.
In 1999 Linda had a dream where her father came to her and scolded her for not continuing with her music. Inspired with that dream she organized the lst Annual Eligio Escobar Memorial Weekend Festival, dedicated to all veterans. Elijio wrote the famous song, "El Veterano" in memory of all veterans.
Linda has since been involved in a couple of vocal duets with Kenji "El Gato" y Su Conjunto J from Osaka, Japan at Mario's Club in Premont and at the Narciso Martinez Conjunto Festival in San Benito, Tx. and with a young conjunto out of Portland, Tx., Los Arroyos Del Rio.
Linda will be performing with Los Arroyos Del Rio at Mario's Club in Premont on November 19, 1999 and with Kenji and his Conjunto J next year in the Corpus Christi area. She also tells us that she will be in the recording studio soon.
We wish Linda the best in her endeavors and are glad that this veteran of Tejano music has decided to get back into the music business, thanks to the dreams that she had of her father, Elijio Escobar, "El Veterano".
*Note: Most of the material for this article was taken from the booklet of the Eligio Escobar Memorial Weekend Fest