Tex-Mex pioneer Joe Bravo met Miranda in 1960. “He had so much talent,” said Bravo, who cited Miranda’s “Mi Piquito De Oro” as one of his personal favorites.
“He had a commanding voice. He sang from the heart. He always gave it all he had.”
Sunny Ozuna counted Miranda as a friend and part of a gang of Tejano pioneers that includes Bravo, Jimmy Edward, Freddie Martinez, Agustin Lara and Carlos Guzman .
“We’re all from the same era. We all took off at the same time,” Ozuna said. “We were all in that same little space of time when Tejano music took off.”
Miranda’s sound was distinctive.
“He had a very high range. He loved it ‘up there.’ And he did it well,” Ozuna explained. “I’m sure he was trying to imitate the singers from Mexico. He had it in his blood and adapted it to Tejano, which gave him his little spark, that edge.”
The last time Ozuna saw Miranda was several months ago at Freddie Records in Corpus Christi. He didn’t know his friend was dying of cancer. Ozuna says he heard a gospel mariachi track where Miranda is having a conversation with God.
“He was telling him, ‘You know, Lord. I’ve been ready for awhile. If you’re waiting for me, don’t worry. I’m fine and I’m ready.’”
Legendary singer Carlos Guzman met Miranda in the mid-1960s at El Ranchito, a nightclub in far South San Antonio that catered to Mexican Americans. Miranda worked there as a janitor and emcee.
“That was way back,” said Guzman, who performed there with Oscar Hernandez and later with Los Fabulosos. “It was almost the only venue popular for Mexican artists, including what’s now known as Tejano. Everybody had to go sooner or later to El Ranchito club.”
Guzman, 73, says Miranda gave him his stage name (Guzman was born Margarito Guzman) and that Miranda’s high-voiced style is borrowed from Mexico actor and singer Miguel Aceves Mejía.
“It’s in the vocals. He was very unique and he was good with mariachi songs,” Guzman said. “And who can forget ‘Piquito de Oro.’”
Miranda was also known as “El Minero de Nueva Rosita, Coahuila.” Nueva Rosita is a mining town in Mexico.
“He had a good run,” Guzman said. “He was up there with the so-called legendary people of our genre.”