b. Juan Raul Davis Rodriguez, 10 December 1951, Sabinal, Texas, USA. Rodriguez grew up with a large family living in a shanty town 90 miles from the Mexican border. He was given a guitar when he was seven and, as a teenager, he sang with a beat group. His troubles with the law included goat rustling (he barbecued the goats). A Texas ranger, who heard him singing in his cell, found him a job at the Alamo village and he drove stagecoaches, rode horses and entertained tourists. Tom T. Hall recognized his talent and employed him as lead guitarist with his road band, the Storytellers. He was signed to Mercury Records, who particularly liked the way he could switch from English to Spanish. Rodriguez went to number 9 in the US country chart with his first release, ‘Pass Me By’, in 1972 and he then had three consecutive number 1 records, ‘You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me)’, ‘Riding My Thumb To Mexico’ and ‘That’s The Way Love Goes’. He wrote many of his songs and occasionally wrote with Hall. In 1975 he had further number 1 country records with ‘I Just Can’t Get Her Out Of My Mind’, ‘Just Get Up And Close The Door’ and ‘Love Put A Song In My Heart’. In 1977, he had a Top 10 country hit with a revival of the Eagles’ ‘Desperado’. He moved to Epic Records in 1979 and found success with ‘I Hate The Way I Love It’, with newcomer Charly McClain. However, his drug addiction made him more erratic; he started to take less care over his records, and in 1983, he sacked his band. Rodriguez moved to Capitol Records in 1988 and had a country hit with a classy ballad, ‘I Didn’t (Every Chance I Had)’. He then had a further four minor hits with Capitol over a two-year period; ‘I Wanta Make Up With You’, ‘You Might Want To Use Me Again’, ‘No Chance To Dance’ and ‘Back To Stay’. For some odd reason he recorded only one album for Capitol, and his 1994 album, Run For The Border, smacked of desperation - a few new songs and reworkings of his former glories. He was involved in a fatal shooting in August 1998 when Israel Borrego was shot by Rodriguez.
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