The Mavericks

Mavericks [1991]

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The Mavericks' debut album was a pale shadow of the music they'd be putting on plastic a few years later, but it's strong enough to make clear this was a significantly more interesting band than one would expect to hear on the country charts in 1990. Vocalist (and principle songwriter) Raul Malo was still learning how to control his spacious, Orbison-esque tenor, but anyone with ears could tell the man already had a great voice, and if the group would become more adventurous with time, this material sounds tight, enthusiastic, and pretty ambitious for a band aiming toward the mainstream recording market (and cutting the sessions on their own dime). It's significant that four of the best songs from this album would be re-recorded for the Mavericks' major-label debut in 1992, and that by that time guitarist Ben Peeler (whose style is solid but more than a bit rote) would be out of the picture, but The Mavericks is hardly an embarrassing place for a band this good to start their recording career; it's a stylish and enthusiastic album from a band who would get much better with time.

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