Freddie Martinez "Freddie Records" Collection
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Biographical / Historical
Freddie took up the trumpet at the age of nine. He grew up with music and was constantly influenced by it. His older brother Lee Martinez, Jr. known as an outstanding trumpet player, retired in 2001. Freddie excelled at the junior and high school levels in music. He was a drum major at Wynn Seale Academy of Fine Arts, now known as Wynn Seale Metropolitan School of Design, and owned first chair trumpet throughout his school years. By fourteen, Freddie was sitting in as a substitute in Uncle Ralph Galvan’s Orchestra. In 1958, while still in high school and fifteen years of age, he formed the Freddie Martinez Orchestra and became a professional musician. At this point he started singing along with being a trumpet player. In 1959 Freddie landed a DJ job on Corpus Christi radio station KCCT.
In 1963 Freddie married his junior high school sweetheart JoAnn. When Freddie and JoAnn realized that there were no record companies that Freddie could go to, they started his record label in his garage in November 1969, with $400. Martinez was a singer and trumpet player who performed on the Tex-Mex music circuit from the 1960s to 1977. The first album released on the Freddie Records label “Botoncito De Cariño”, made a substantial initial impact. The album produced several hits, including the title track, a tune written by noted composer Johnny Herrera. “Muñequita De Canela”, Freddie Records’ second album was also a hit, as was the third, “Un Par De Ojitos”. But in 1971, with the release of an album called “Te Traigo Estas Flores”, Freddie Records and Freddie Martinez hit the big time. Avenues opened everywhere. The Freddie Martinez Orchestra was being heard on radio all over the United States and Mexico and offers to perform were coming in from venues all over the country. Freddie and his bandmates performed before capacity crowds in Los Angeles’ Million Dollar Theatre, The Hollywood Palladium, and New York’s Madison Square Garden. He was also offered and accepted a role in the movie “La Muerte De Pancho Villa”, co-starring with famed ranchero performer Antonio Aguilar. “Te Traigo Estas Flores” eventually sold more than one million copies in the United States and Mexico and was covered by such well known international artists as Lucha Villa and Antonio Aguilar. Freddie Records was still just a one artist label.
In 1977, after eleven years on the road and after recording nearly thirty albums, Freddie decided to retire his orchestra and devote more time to his family and his record label. The record label was also demanding more of his time and it was going through some growing pains. Artists such as Tony De La Rosa, Little Joe, Joe Bravo, Augustin Ramirez, and Sunny and the Sunliners signed with Freddie. Ramon Ayala, who had made a name for himself as one half of Los Relampagos Del Norte came under the Freddie Records label in 1974. Curiously, but representative of their styles, Ayala and Freddie did not have a recording contract for the first fifteen years of their business association. A handshake was all there was between them. Ayala, now a Norteño music superstar, has been a Freddie Records artist continuously since 1975.
Martinez won the Grammy and Latin Grammy six times as an artist, producer, and songwriter. He credits his wife, JoAnn, for helping start the record business from the beginning and now has his three sons, Freddie Jr., John, and Marc run the business. Freddie Records became one of the most important entities in the Tejano Recording Industry. The record label released Selena’s first album and other Tejano superstars including Michael Salgado, Solido, Jimmy Gonzalez Y Grupo MAZZ, Los Terribles Del Norte, Joe Lopez, La Tropa F, and of course, Ramon Ayala Y Sus Bravos Del Norte. In early 2002, Freddie and his family opened their highly anticipated new corporate facility on Corpus Christi’s southside. At nearly 40,000 square feet, the building serves as Freddie Records’ new headquarters and houses the company’s sales, distribution, marketing, promotion, and publishing departments. In addition, the site features Legends Sound Studios, Freddie’s state of the art recording facility which houses two world-class studios, a mastering suite, and a production/demo room to accommodate Freddie Record’s growing roster of music acts.
Freddie Martinez is active in several local community organizations, including churches within the Corpus Christi Catholic Diocese, youth programs and serving on the Board of Directors for the Ark Assessment Center for Children.
Freddie has been inducted into practically every Latin Music Hall of Fame, been given many honors by organizations in the USA and Mexico and has been called “El Embajador De La Musica Tejana,” “El Rey De La Musica Tejana,” “El Cariñoso,” and “The Don of Tejano Music”. Freddie is also recognized as one of the single most influential businessmen in the Latin music industry. In August 2019 Freddie celebrated his 50th Anniversary at a star-studded sold-out show at the National Tejano Convention in Las Vegas. In December of 2019, another 50th Anniversary celebration took place at the Anchor Ballroom at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The celebration continued January 18th, 2020 with another star-studded celebration at the San Antonio Events Center, featuring many of the former and current Freddie Records Recording Artists’.
- Ark Assessment Center for Children
- Corpus Christi (Tex.)
- Corpus Christi Catholic Diocese
- Freddie Records Inc.
- Galvan Ball Room
- Galvan, Rafael, Sr., 1887-1966
- Latin Music Hall of Fame
- Legends Sound Studios
- Martinez Jr., Freddie
- Martinez, JoAnn
- Martinez, John
- Mexican Americans -- Texas -- Music
- Tejano music
- Tejano musicians
- Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
- Wynn Seale Academy of Fine Arts
- Guide to Freddie Martinez "Freddie Records" Collection
- Lori K Atkins
- July 2020
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Edition statement
Part of the Special Collections and Archives, Mary and Jeff Bell Library, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Repository
6300 Ocean Dr.
Corpus Christi TX 78412 United States