Anecdote: The Day I Replaced Alonso Cantu’s Chef

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Myrna, Roberto Hugo and Osmel - Myrna y Los Platinos
Myrna, Roberto Hugo and Osmel. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

By Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

As originally published by Texas Border Business in its newsprint edition November 2005

Alonso Cantu
Alonso Cantu

Back in the 70’s there was a very popular musical trio called Myrna and Los Platinos. The trio had performed internationally and played original songs composed by Osmel Martinez who at the time was considered to be an acoustical guitar virtuoso. Osmel composed lyrics and music for most of the original material played by the trio aside from being their lead guitarist.

Myrna had such a unique voice that wherever she performed, she received standing ovations from the public. She was an exceptional singer. The third member of this group was Ramon Garcia, now Lone Star National Bank’s chef. He was the guitar harmony and second voice. But where was he? The one in the middle of the photo is not Ramon but Roberto Hugo Gonzalez, a guitar aficionado. Just check out those bell bottoms.

Ramon Garcia
Ramon Garcia

Obviously something had happened since Ramon was not there. Osmel came to visit and asked me to perform with them just this one time. The Trio had dissolved and they were in the process of finding a replacement.

However, they had a commitment to perform and they could not fail to appear. So, there was no one else but me. Osmel asked me to play with them as a favor. I accepted after I tried everything to get out of this situation.

I had been playing guitar as an aficionado for a few years. My father, Don Rafael Gonzalez Castro, had taught me to play very well but not how to read music. I would play because I had a good ear for music and a love for the guitar. I admit that performing with Osmel and Myrna was intimidating for me; they were professionals. I had never practiced with the trio and I never asked to do so. Osmel believed that I would be able to just follow his lead. I did, at least I tried to.

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Roberto H. Gonzalez
Roberto H. Gonzalez

I performed with the trio and everything went just fine, even though I was sweating profusely. It was very hard to follow the lead guitarist, who played as if he had ten fingers on each hand.

On this occasion, Ramon was not there. I knew he was a good guitarist, but after that experience, I can honestly say he is a great guitarist.  Few people can follow a lead guitar of Osmel’s stature. I did but I don’t think I would ever be able to do it again. TBB

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