Accordionist and innovator in conjunto music who updated the sound of Tex-Mex. He was known by his nickname El Conde or The Count.
He began taking accordion lessons when he was nine, purchasing one from the Sears catalogue for $9.
He added electric instruments and amplifiers to border music, which was previously only acoustic music.
He was born on a Texas ranch as one of 12 children. He remembered his mother playing the harmonica on the front porch.
He and B.B. King were both honored by the National Endowment for the Arts.