Skip to Main Content

Old School Polkas del Ghost Town

Old School Polkas del Ghost Town
This recording presents the essence of authentic old school conjunto music, straight out of San Antonio’s West Side. Lorenzo Martinez and Ramon “Rabbit” Sanchez are two master musicians who have played at the innovative edge of conjunto for more than half a century. This is puro conjunto. Nowadays you won’t find the name Ghost Town on a map of San Antonio. Back in the fifties it was the nickname given to the rough neighborhood of dirt streets by the kids who lived near the Good Samaritan Center, around Saltillo Street and SW 19th. “Really nothing ghost about it,” says Lorenzo Martinez. “It’s just a name that the guys came up with. It was a bad ass neighborhood back in those days. One of the most famous in the city.” Even on the astoundingly music-rich West Side of San Antonio, where conjunto thrived then and now, Ghost Town remains famous as the neighborhood which produced a large number of the very best musicians. Lorenzo grew up there, part of the early wave of young conjunto innovators in the 1950s. He mastered the accordion by listening to and learning from the older generation of foundational musicians, and by playing and competing with the rising group of excited and talented kids putting together conjuntos of their own for the cantinas and dance halls. Lorenzo and Rabbit play a much wider and virtuosic range of music than just polkitas. They boast a rare and beautiful repertoire that is no longer being played by contemporary conjunto musicians. Conjunto has continually evolved to incorporate other styles like boleros even as some distinct older styles, rhythms, and songs have faded. This older music includes mazurkas, schottisches, waltzes, and redovas, all of which Lorenzo and Rabbit have continued to play. This album features a small sampling of Lorenzo and Rabbit’s range, and also includes one of their specialties: paso dobles done conjunto style. These complex and multi-part pieces, often intended for the violin, came originally from Spain and were featured in bullfights. Paso dobles are difficult to play and not usually attempted by conjunto musicians. As the accordion replaced the fiddle as the principal instrument for dance music in Mexican-American border music in the early part of the twentieth century, paso dobles almost entirely disappeared. Lorenzo and Rabbit here play uncommon polkas and paso dobles in their unique style. They have selected some largely forgotten polkas played back in the day in Ghost Town and other melodies that have never before been recorded on conjunto button accordion and bajo sexto.

Stock number:

SFR 112

Price:

$15.00