By Anita Garner
Last Sunday our three-member quarantine family enjoyed a socially distanced brunch on the patio of a Mexican restaurant. With mariachis!! It’s just around the corner but it’s a new world when your family hasn’t been to a restaurant in ages. There’s a charming fence around the patio so the musicians can strum and stroll and be seen and heard. I had my song request and tip money ready.
In the 1950s, traveling with our family on The Glory Road through the Deep South, the revival circuit took us to Texas many times and during one long stay in El Paso, Daddy began learning Spanish. He loved Spanish guitars, was drawn to all songs played bolero style and he made a special effort to learn some of Mother’s favorites.
My brother, Leslie Ray, and I grew up listening to Daddy’s Southern drawl stretching out lyrics in places where perhaps they hadn’t originally stretched. His Spanish version of Maria Elena was Mother’s favorite.
Leslie and I adopted a love for Latin beats and for visiting restaurants with strolling mariachis. Leslie’s Latin favorites lived in the jazz world, Cal Tjader and Poncho Sanchez among them, while Daddy gravitated to Jose Feliciano, Trio Los Ponchos, Los Indios Tabajaras and Eydie Gorme’s Spanish language album.
On Sunday, between renditions of Happy Birthday in Spanish and English, we were treated to some beautiful ballads. One of them was my request for Sabor a Mi. I added a version of it below, along with Maria Elena. It’s sung in Spanish but it’s missing Daddy’s Southern drawl. And a bonus, Eydie singing Nosotros with Trio Los Ponchos.