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Michigan family restores rare recordings of father’s Tejano music

Lost tapes from Martin Solis and Los Primos were produced into a full album to archive the Midwest Tejano sound.

Photo courtesy of Third Man Records

Rare recordings of Martin Solis, Jr. have been restored and released by his family a year after the passing of the Michigan Tejano singer and musician.

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Fox 2 Detroit reports the son of the late Tejano R.O.O.T.S Hall of Famer found rare home recordings of Solis while cleaning out his mother’s attic.

“I found a bag and I thought it was garbage and I was going to throw it away and I happened to open it up and I Iooked at it and it was tapes, about seven reel-to-reels,” Frank Solis told Fox 2 Detroit. “But they’re so old, are they going to last?”

Frank Solis reached out to childhood friend Eddie Gillis, production manager at Third Man Pressing, for help in restoring the home-recorded reel-to-reel tapes.

“We couldn’t believe it when we heard them,” added Frank Solis. “They didn’t break, they were clear.”

Martin Solis, Jr. started playing music as a young boy eventually moving to Michigan from Texas in 1942 with his family as migrant farmworkers settling in the Detroit area. He teamed with his cousin, saxophonist Willy Huron, to create Conjunto Los Primos, one of the few Conjunto groups in the Midwest during the 1950s.

Gillis felt that the music was a historic artifact and needed to be documented, so he produced an album.

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Solis passed away in August 2019 at the age of 90. He was able to hear and hold the legacy of his music on vinyl, as his test pressings were delivered for final review before his passing.

Third Man Records released the first-ever recordings of Tejano pioneer Martin Solis in the preservation of music history and is available at ThirdManRecords.com.

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