See Texas Hill Country Legend Johnny Rodriguez Sing ‘Thumb to Mexico’

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Johnny Rodriguez was the first famous hispanic American country music singer, and he came from right here in our backyard out of Sabinal, Texas.

You might remember signing along and dancing to his music every summer under the live oak at the Garner State Park Dance Pavilion, or from a number of appearances he made on television during the 1970s and 1980s. Rodriguez started small, performing for a small fee at a tourist attraction called Amarillo Village. But when he left for Nashville with a guitar and $14 dollars in his pocket at age 21, he made sure audiences would never forget him.

Johnny sang with a fresh Latin-inspired sound and wowed audiences with his one-of-a-kind voice, which is on clear display in this 1973 recording of “Ridin’ My Thumb To Mexico.”

The song’s simple nature and easygoing guitar pickin’ helped propel his voice to the front of a tune that would hit number 1 on Billboard’s country chart, and stay there for a total thirteen weeks.

His band can’t be ignored either, with a gospel-style chorus backing his voice in a harmony that calls to mind some of the best country music coming out of the area.

Watch as Johnny Rodriguez performs “Ridin’ My Thumb To Mexico.”