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The “King of the Brown Sound” is a fitting nickname for Little Joe Hernandez. The music he has played over his storied career has blended together everything from mariachi, orquesta, conjunto, country, doo-wop, Sinatra-style standards, jazz, rock, salsa, and whatever else sounds and feels right, creating a sound that has resonated with Chicanos for over 50 years.
Coming from humble beginnings in the cotton fields of Temple, Texas, Little Joe has seen it all. Famous for collaborations and duets, the Grammy winner has worked with everyone from Conjunto pioneer Valerio Longoria to longtime Tejano friends Ruben Ramos and Roberto Pulido to Country legend Willie Nelson to parody master extraordinaire Weird Al Yankovic.
We made a special trip to his museum in Temple to talk with the man himself. Surrounded by photos and memorabilia, we talked about his life and career, even some politics. There’s a lot of insight, a lot of philosophy, and some good laughs too.
It’s so good that we broke it up into three parts…enjoy!
(note: we included his Schlitz Beer commercial for historical purposes only)