Houston record shop owner remembers 50-year friendship with legendary singer Vicente Fernández

His legacy continues through his supporters in the Houston area

HOUSTON – The Memo Record shop located in Houston’s East End may be breaking records with CDs and DVDs lining the walls.

“This is the last historic Houston record store,” said Memo Villarreal, owner of the shop. “I live more here than my house.”

For Villarreal, the store is home to some of his favorite memories.

“Before the record shop, I was a promoter,” he said.

Villarreal said in the 60′s he booked famed Mexican Ranchera singer Vicente Fernández for his first show in Houston.

By the sixth show, he said he and Fernández had become good friends.

“I said, ‘Vicente, we had it so loud,’” he recalled. “This is the first time in the six times you come to Houston. He gave me something that I can remember that day.”

Villarreal was gifted Fernández’s signature charro outfits -- just one of his many staples as a performer.

“Once he stepped on stage, everyone was standing up, applauding, singing, and sometimes crying to the songs,” Marian Escamilla said.

Escamilla sponsored some of Vicente’s performances.

“From Houston to Dallas to Austin and San Antonio,” she said. “It was a privilege to be with him. Every concert was so different, so lovely.”

Vicente was known for his hours-long concerts and operatic range.

“It’s going to be very hard in the next 50 years to see another Vicente Fernández,” Villarreal said. “Those artists don’t come every day.”

A memorial for Fernández is being held Tuesday at Escapade 2001 Club, located at 11903 Eastex Freeway Houston, Texas from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.


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