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Abie Epstein’s Legacy was Music
(One of the original pioneers of the San Antonio sound, Abe Epstein passed away recently. Epstein's musical contributions are detailed in this Ramon Hernandez report, including photos.)
“Although real estate made up ninety-five percent of his adult life, Abie Epstein’s legacy was his creation of the San Antonio sound,” Henry Peña stated during his opening remarks at Esptein’s memorial service.
“No one can take the San Antonio
Sound away from him,” Richard “Pache” Acosta of the former lead singer of Al and the Pharoahs.
“He had his finger on the pulse of this city,” former KONO personality Wild Bill Riley said. “He knew the DNA of this town and that will never be duplicated. You could not play the music of San Antonio unless you played something produced Abie.”
“He had something that you can’t learn from a book,” former KONO disc jockey Chris Kelly added. “Music is worthless without someone to coordinate and his chemistry was perfect.”
Henry Hernández of the Royal Jesters, who was unable to get the time off work to attend said, “Above all, he was a friend and a mentor to me and many musicians during the time Óscar Lawson used to engineer at his studio. In our case, we started out on Harlem Records, but we were aiming higher, so we went to Abie.”
Peña, who had been friends with Epstein since high school, was there with his him from the formation of his band, Henry and the Kasuals, recording for Epstein’s record label and doing distribution with Epstein’s record company.
“As a teenager in San Antonio, every high school had a garage band, but it wasn’t ‘a band’ unless you recorded at Abie’s recording studio. We just wanted to be on vinyl and hear it on the radio, than the teenagers in high school would buy the music to keep it going. Abie also helped me in radio and television,” Peña continued.
When Peña reached twenty-three and felt he was on top of the world, Abie gave him the best advice a friend could offer, he said, “It doesn’t work