Ray Price Orchestra at Services

Funeral Services

Ray Price and Band Members at Sacred Heart Cemetary

Del Rio, Texas

Reprinted with permission of DEL RIO LIVE, Del Rio, Texas.

Blondie Calderón Lived Life in Big Bites


November 2, 2000

Blondie Calderón lived life in big bites. It was not a quiet, casual affair to him. He played to a full house, so it is only fitting and proper that his last public appearance played to a capacity crowd in his death.

A memorial celebration conducted for Blondie Wednesday afternoon filled the Paul Poag Theatre for the Performing Arts to capacity as several hundred people paid their final respects to a man who provided enjoyment to and was a source of pride to countless numbers of people who knew him.

As a personal note, I felt more than a slight tug of melancholy irony as a violin quartet played several songs during the open moments of the service. Among them was "Danny Boy." During the early years of his career with Ray Price, Blondie, with copies of Price's latest releases, would rush into the old KDLK/KDLK-FM studios on Bedell Avenue where I was a disc jockey.

One of the early hits had "Danny Boy" on the "B" or back side. It was one of the lush Cam Mullins arrangements that was to become a musical signature for Price. I fell in love with the song and would play it rather than the hit side, much to Blondie's consternation.

On several occasions he pointed out that the "other side" was the hit. I, in turn, would explain to Blondie that this "Danny Boy" was the best version of the song I have ever heard. It still is to this day. So I continued to play it.

As circumstances had it, my faith in the song was rewarded and "Danny Boy" went on to become a big hit in its own right. Wednesday afternoon, it became a fitting farewell for a man who gave all of his energy and talents to a community he felt deeply about.

Among those who paid tribute to Blondie was singer Radney Foster who recalled that Blondie taught him to play the guitar.

"I knew I had arrived when Blondie took my picture and hung it on the wall (of Memo's Restaurant)," he said.

Blondie also was remembered by Bob Kusenberger. In his eulogy, Kusenberger commented on Blondie's "capacity for friendship...his tremendous ability to love. The stage was his church. The piano, his altar. ..There will be only one Blondie Calderon."

Musical tributes were offered by Price and Blondie's daughters, Moisann and Jacque. As the final mourners filed out of the theater, an enthusiastic recording of Blondie singing "El Rancho Grande" played in the background.