The Mavericks,
The Mavericks
(Sanctuary, 2003)

Remember The Mavericks? They have not released an album in five years but it has been worth the wait. New label, new guitarist, but the same great, driving sound. Like the characters in Friends, they were on a break but now they are back and, although they had performed on special occasions, this new CD on what is often seen as a rock 'n' roll label signals a renaissance.

From the opening track, "I Want to Know," you wonder how the world of country music has survived without them. Here is vintage Americana for the 21st century.

The bulk of the tracks here are from the pen of Raul Malo, sometimes in collaboration with others. There is more than a hint of Roy Orbison in the voice of the lead singer, and this is particularly evident on "I'm Wondering." This is a beautiful, gentle song with simple backing and arrangement that does not cloud the lyrics.

My favourite track has to be another gentle song called "By The Time." This is followed by my second favourite, "Too Lonely," which has a haunting sound reminiscent of the great torch songs of the 1960s.

A great bonus on the album is the appearance by Willie Nelson on "Time Goes By." The combination is a real winner. The CD closes with the fantastic "Air That I Breathe," which I usually associate with Mary Travers, but now I have a new version to cherish.

Welcome back, Mavericks. We missed you but did not realise how much.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 31 January 2004

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