Flaco Jiménez

Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez (born March 11, 1939)[1] is a Norteño, Tex Mex and Tejano music accordionist and singer from San Antonio, Texas.[2][3]

Flaco Jiménez
Background information
Birth nameLeonardo "Flaco" Jiménez
Born (1939-03-11) March 11, 1939
San Antonio, Texas, United States
GenresConjunto, Norteño, Tejano, country, rock
InstrumentsAccordion, bajo sexto, vocals
Years active1946–present
Associated actsTexas Tornadoes, The Mavericks, The Rolling Stones, Los Super Seven, Sir Douglas Quintet, Dwight Yoakam, Ry Cooder, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Carlos Santana, Los Texmaniacs


Jiménez began performing at the age of seven, with his father, Santiago Jiménez Sr, who was a pioneer of conjunto music and began recording at age fifteen as a member of Los Caminantes. He played in the San Antonio area for several years and then began working with Doug Sahm in the 1960s. Sahm, better known as the founding member of the Sir Douglas Quintet, played with Jiménez for some time. Flaco then went on to New York City and worked with Dr. John, David Lindley, Peter Rowan, Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan. He appeared on Cooder's world music album Chicken Skin Music and on the Rolling Stones' Voodoo Lounge. This led to greater awareness of his music outside America and, after touring Europe with Ry Cooder, he returned to tour in America with his own band, and on a joint bill with Peter Rowan. Jiménez, Peter Rowan and Wally Drogos were the original members of a band called the Free Mexican Airforce.

Jiménez won a Grammy award in 1986 for Ay Te Dejo en San Antonio, one of his father's songs. He was also a member of the Tejano fusion group Texas Tornados,[4] with Augie Meyers, Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender. The Texas Tornados won a Grammy award in 1990, and Jiménez earned one on his own in 1996, when his album Flaco Jiménez won the Grammy Award for Best Mexican-American Performance. In 1999, he earned another Grammy award for Best Tejano Performance for Said and Done (released by Barbed Wire Records) and one for Best Mexican-American Performance as a part of the supergroup Los Super Seven.

In 2012 Jiménez received a National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment of the Arts.[2][3]

In February 2015, Jiménez won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[5] He also won a Best Video award at the Tejano Music Awards and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from Billboard Latin Magazine for "Streets of Bakersfield" with Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens.

Jiménez appeared in the movie Picking Up the Pieces, with Woody Allen and Sharon Stone, and was also featured on the soundtrack. His music has been featured in the soundtrack for other movies, such as Y Tu Mamá También, El Infierno, The Border, Tin Cup, Chulas Fronteras, and Striptease. The Hohner company collaborated with Jiménez to create the Flaco Jimenez Signature Series of accordions.

His brother, Santiago Jiménez, Jr., is also an accomplished accordionist and has recorded extensively.

Jiménez's 2014 CD, Flaco & Max: Legends & Legacies, was issued by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. In 2015, "Legends & Legacies" won Flaco Jiménez and Max Baca an award in the Latin Album category at the 14th Annual Independent Music Awards.


Studio Albums

Live Albums

Compilations and Re-Releases

  • El Rancho de la Ramalada, [release year unknown], Joey Records
  • Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio Y Mas, 1993, Arhoolie Records
  • Un Mojado Sin Licencia and Other Hits From the 1960s, 1993, Arhoolie Records[6]
  • Flaco's First! (with Los Caminantes), 1995, Arhoolie Records
  • 15 Exitos, 1995, Joey Records
  • Best of Flaco Jiménez, 1999, Arhoolie Records
  • Ultimo Tornado, 2001, Warner Bros. Records
  • 20 Golden Hits, 2001, Hacienda Records
  • Flaco's Favorites: 14 Fabulous Tracks, 2002, Fab14 Records
  • Contiene Exitos, Prieta Case Se Me Olvido Otra Vez, 2003, Discos Ranchito
  • Fiesta Del Rio, 2006, Fiesta Records
  • Melodias, 2010, Joey Records
  • Polkas y Mas..., 2010, Joey Records


Year Single Peak positions Album
US Latin
1992 "Me Está Matando" 38 Partners

Guest singles

Year Single Artist Peak chart
US Country CAN Country
1996 "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down" The Mavericks 13 15 Music for All Occasions



  1. "How Mexico Learned To Polka". NPR.org(Morning Edition). 11 March 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  2. "Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez - 2012 NEA National Heritage Fellow". National Endowment for the Arts. 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  3. "Flaco Jimenez: Tiny Desk Concert : NPR". NPR Music. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  4. "So The Punk Says To The Ranchero, 'You Should Listen To Piñata Protest'". NPR.org(Alt.Latino). 28 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  5. "Special Merit Awards: Class Of 2015|GRAMMY.com". Grammy.com. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
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