In the UK The Mavericks will be forever known for their Top 5 1998 hit Dance the Night Away. In the US and Canada they’d already been making waves for a number of years but it was that song that launched them internationally. The band – whose current line-up is Raul Maio, Paul Deakin, Eddie Perez and Jerry Dale McFadden – have undergone a number of line-up changes over the years with Maio and Deakin being the two constants and they’ve broken up and reunited a few times too. For their latest album, The Mavericks is paying homage to their Cuban-American roots with the all-Spanish album En Español.
En Español is a collection of new material and covers of classic tracks that inspired the band. It’ll come as no surprise to long-time fans of the band that this album has arrived as The Mavericks have long combined Country with Cuban, Tejano/Tex-Mex and Latin rhythms. The album opens with La Sitiera (Small Farmer) a cover of Omara Portuondo’s 2000 release. It’s a stirring start that sets the album off on a sedate but beautiful note. The beat picks up on the fantastic Recuerdos (Memories), a song that combines a mariachi feel with a soft rock twang. Even if you don’t understand the lyrics, the song will sweep you up and the rhythm take over your body.
It becomes clear very quickly that En Español is an album that The Mavericks have wanted to make for some time. They sound energised, perfectly in-sync and captivating across the 12 songs here. No Vale La Pena (Not Worth It) is an early highlight with its driving beat and carefully orchestrated arrangements, Sombras Nada Más (Only Shadows) is an affecting and dramatic cover of the Javier Solis hit, and Me Olvidé de Vivir (I Forgot to Live) sees the band taking on the mighty Julio Iglesias, and pulling it off admirably.
The album’s highlight comes right in the middle of the record on Mujer (Woman). Maio’s vocal is superb, pushing his vibrato to great effect and showcasing just what an incredible vocalist he is. Elsewhere on the album the gentle sway of the Luis Miguel cover Sabor a Mí (Taste Of Me) is sensual and alluring while Cuando Me Enamoro (When I Fall In Love) is a classic love song that will make you feel a little warm and fuzzy.
En Español is a timely album that really showcases what’s so special about The Mavericks. They may have been lumped into the Country genre for much of their career but the band has so much more to offer. With Latin music currently the biggest genre in the world, The Mavericks could well find themselves returning to that mass commercial appeal they had in the late 90s. En Español is an uplifting and feel-good album that’s perfect for these miserable and difficult times.
Track listing: 1. La Sitiera 2. Recuerdos 3. No Vale la Pena 4. Poder Vivir 5. Sombras Nada Más 6. Mujer 7. Me Olvidé de Vivir 8. Pensando en Ti 9. Sabor a Mí 10. Suspiro Azul 11. Cuando Me Enamoro 12. Me Voy a Pinar del Río Record label: Mundo Recordings / Thirty Tigers Release date: 21st August 2020 Buy En Español