Profile… Raul Malo

This is an updated version of an article I wrote a week ago.

A cover version of a well-known hit, led me to a band which for some reason I thought was Welsh.  I had no idea of anything at all about them, I just  really liked the song – so, just in case I only liked that song and didn’t like any of their other music, I borrowed a CD from the library. I’d never heard anything by them before – only the cover version, but as soon as I heard the first track on the borrowed album, I was hooked.

What was it which just captivated me? It wasn’t my sort of music and I found it hard to define, country-rock, maybe? I had no idea, but I realised they weren’t Welsh but American. I was entranced, enthralled, bewitched maybe, by the strong lead guitar,by the perfect rhythm section of bass and drums, by the lead singer’s voice, so expressive, so clear, such range, so strong, so tender, so cheerful, so sad… I’d never heard a voice like it, so pure somehow and yet so rich…

I looked at the album cover; four men maybe in their thirties, staring impassively out of the photo. The two on the left were standing, the other two sitting. Which one was the singer? The cool appraising one standing on the left, or the one next to and slightly behind him, dark hair, a goatee and moustache a strong almost fierce expression? Or was it the one sitting at the front with a red jacket and a challenging look on his face – lighter brown hair, again bearded and moustached? Or the one on the right, sitting slightly further back, dark curly hair  and a watchful, still expression.

There were names on the back of the album but it didn’t help identify which was the singer, the one with the mesmerising voice. He conveyed great joy, or tenderness, or sorrow, or  enthusiasm, or passion, or loss, or heartbreak, or fun, or anger, or love… The band was terrific, and I wanted to know – which name matched which face? Was the singer the one with the fierce expression, maybe a little older than the others? Or the one at the front in the red jacket with the challenging look? I had no idea.

It didn’t take me long to find out the name of the band, the instruments they played, the songs they had written, and then to buy every other album I could find by them. If you know me you’ll know that the band is The Mavericks, and at that time the members were Paul Deakin on drums, Nick Kane lead guitar, Robert Reynolds bass and vocals, and Raul Malo guitar and vocals, and the writer of many if not most of their songs.

I fell in love with the Mavericks; I bought all their albums, everything available. I bought all of Raul’s solo albums. I went to as many gigs as possible, travelling to every part of the UK, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, south to Plymouth, north- east to York, north-west to Liverpool and Manchester, and the midlands – Birmingham and Coventry… and elsewhere. An unexpected collateral was the friends I made – from across the world, friends who at first were Mav-fans, but soon became friends independent of our shared love and enthusiasm.

So, this is the background to my profile of Raul Malo. It is only a brief biography, to write about everything Raul has done and achieved would take a whole book… and maybe someone should write one!

Raul Malo

Raúl Francisco Martínez-Malo Jr. was born on August 7, 1965 in Miami, Florida to parents who were Cuban.  He was brought up with music all around him, not just at home but in the neighbourhood where local people played in public venues, sharing traditional music and songs and dance.

Like many young people  Raul joined his friends from school to make music, playing bass guitar at that point, and it wasn’t long before he was in various bands. However, the magic began to happen when he and a school friend Robert Reynolds got together with drummer Paul Deakin and they became the Mavericks. At that point their influences were the class country acts, such as Hank Williams and Patsy Cline – and mixed with Raul’s Latin roots they produced a unique sound.

They worked throughout the 80’s and by the autumn of 1990 they were ready to release their own album called… The Mavericks! Raul had written the songs, and they were now joined by the guitarist Ben Peeler.  The success of their album lead them to be signed by MCA, and this was when Raul really began to focus on writing, and on singing – using his magnificent, distinctive voice as an instrument to make, as I mentioned, their unique sound.

They played their first gig in Nashville in 1991, and David Lee Holt joined Deakin, Reynolds and Malo as lead guitarist. Fame followed, success building on success. In 1995 Nick Kane became lead guitar, and it was this quartet which really cemented the firm foundations which had been set during the early 90’s.  Various other artists were associated with the band, including the one and only Jerry Dale McFadden. The Latin rhythms  of Raul’s background and heritage began to infiltrate their music making them different from any other band in the USA, and in the world. In fact, the world embraced the Mavericks, and they developed a huge following in Europe and in Australia but also in many other countries too.

As with most bands, there were tensions and difficulties, and people wanted to follow different paths; the band separated for  while and Raul released his first solo album, the magnificent ‘Today‘. The band reunited this time with the exuberant Eddie Perez as lead guitarist. An album was released and then once again, the members of the Mavericks drifted to pursue different interests and journeys. Raul continued to make albums and tour, sometimes solo, sometimes with a young accordionist, Michael Guerra.

The band reunited (to great joy from their many fans) and now with Jerry Dale McFadden as one of them, and always supported by Michael Guerra and usually Max Abrams on saxophone; this description –  “a country band whose neo-honky-tonk tunes hark back to the 1950s and 1960s” although still true, became only part of what their music is today… Far wider, more eclectic, more diverse, full of passion and driving energy, still embracing their fans in a way many other bands do not, which is why their future  success is probably guaranteed.

Throughout his career Raul has played with, been part of, collaborated with a wide variety of musicians from different genres of music; he recorded an album with The Royal Northern Sinfonia chamber orchestra of Great Britain, with Los Super Seven (“we maybe more but we are seven”) and has guested and featured on albums by many of the greatest singers of today.

The Mavericks have a huge back catalogue; songs they have written, and those written by others. They have performed and recorded covers from almost every major artist from across most genres of modern/poplar/contemporary music, as well as going back to their roots, and the music and artists who influenced them.

The music and performances and instrumentation is always superb, the rhythm from drums and bass (in the past bass guitar, more recently upright bass) keyboards, and  the Tex-Mex-Latino-Cuban sound from accordion, brass (in the past the Havana Horns, now a duet of sax with Max Abrams, and trumpet)  the melody – original, clever, often innovative –  but I would suggest that it is the voice which is the forefront, that which captivates and engages. Raul’s voice is, to repeat, a “mesmerising voice” which conveys “great joy, or tenderness, or sorrow, or  enthusiasm, or passion, or loss, or heartbreak, or fun, or anger, or love…

Raul not only sings, and plays, but writes… a Wikipedia entry shows a small sample of his most widely known songs, songs which what might be called ‘the general public’, would know – ‘All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down’, ‘Dance the Night Away’, ‘Here Comes the Rain’, ‘I Should Have Been True’, ‘There Goes My Heart’, ‘What a Crying Shame‘… but Raul must have written, performed, recorded, collaborated on hundreds more. As well as the Mavericks albums, Raul has written and released many others as a solo artist. Every fan will have their favourite, sometimes obscure song written by Raul.

Raul’s voice is captivating, hearing him singing even if you have never seen him live or recorded is mesmerising. However, to see him live, to listen to him performing in font of an audience is something else. He is charismatic, simply that. Performing solo, performing with a small ensemble, with the Mavericks, with a big band or even an orchestra, he shines, he illuminates the stage – and yet is also part of the whole performance.  He performs with passion, to use a clichéed phrase, he always gives a hundred percent, always. And yet… and yet he is modest, it is never about himself, it is about the music.

Raul has exceptional and extraordinary talent, and yet when you meet him (which many fans are able to do as he so generously comes out after nearly every gig) the ordinary fan can’t help but be struck by his modesty, his friendliness and his gratitude to those who buy his music and come to his concerts.  He is one of the most gifted, talented, versatile, imaginative, stunning people I have ever met. He is certainly the most charismatic.

*****

This is a video which demonstrates the sort of person Raul is; a concert I attended was cancelled before it even started due to problems with the water supply. Most of the audience left and went home, tickets refunded; us hard-core fans waited, and were rewarded by Raul coming out and with Jerry Dale McFadden and trumpeter Paul Armstrong and sax-player Max Abrams, entertaining us – here is one of many videos taken of that night:

The article below will give you an insight into Raul’s passion for freedom and liberty, and his anger at the racism and destructive attitudes which are pervading his country and the world:

https://www.raulmalo.com/about.html

Here are some more links about Raul:

http://www.songwritingmagazine.co.uk/interviews/interview-the-mavericks-raul-malo/36532

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/raul-malo-mn0000340527/biography

http://www.encyclopedia.com/people/literature-and-arts/music-popular-and-jazz-biographies/mavericks

The Mavericks Collection

The first album I ever heard

 

Profile

The 73 blog challenge – number 9: A profile

A cover version of a well-known hit, led me to a band which for some reason I thought was Welsh.  I had no idea of anything at all about them, I just  really liked the song – so, just in case I only liked that song and didn’t like any of their other music, I borrowed a CD from the library. I’d never heard anything by them before – only the cover version, but as soon as I heard the first track on the borrowed album, I was hooked.

What was it which just captivated me? It wasn’t my sort of music and I found it hard to define, country-rock, maybe? I had no idea, but I realised they weren’t Welsh but American. I was entranced, enthralled, bewitched maybe, by the strong lead guitar,by the perfect rhythm section of bass and drums, by the lead singer’s voice, so expressive, so clear, such range, so strong, so tender, so cheerful, so sad… I’d never heard a voice like it, so pure somehow and yet so rich…

I looked at the album cover; four men maybe in their thirties, staring impassively out of the photo. The two on the left were standing, the other two sitting. Which one was the singer? The cool appraising one standing on the left, or the one next to and slightly behind him, dark hair, a goatee and moustache a strong almost fierce expression? Or was it the one sitting at the front with a red jacket and a challenging look on his face – lighter brown hair, again bearded and moustached? Or the one on the right, sitting slightly further back, dark curly hair  and a watchful, still expression.

There were names on the back of the album but it didn’t help identify which was the singer, the one with the mesmerising voice. He conveyed great joy, or tenderness, or sorrow, or  enthusiasm, or passion, or loss, or heartbreak, or fun, or anger, or love… The band was terrific, and I wanted to know – which name matched which face? Was the singer the one with the fierce expression, maybe a little older than the others? Or the one at the front in the red jacket with the challenging look? I had no idea.

It didn’t take me long to find out the name of the band, the instruments they played, the songs they had written, and then to buy every other album I could find by them. If you know me you’ll know that the band is The Mavericks, and at that time the members were Paul Deakin on drums, Nick Kane lead guitar, Robert Reynolds bass and vocals, and Raul Malo guitar and vocals, and the writer of many if not most of their songs.

This is the background to my profile of Raul Malo. It is only a brief biography, to write about everything Raul has done and achieved would take a whole book… and maybe someone should write one!

Raul Malo

Raúl Francisco Martínez-Malo Jr. was born on August 7, 1965 in Miami, Florida to parents who were Cuban.  He was brought up with music all around him, not just at home but in the neighbourhood where local people played in public venues, sharing traditional music and songs and dance.

Like many young people  Raul joined his friends from school to make music, playing bass guitar at that point, and it wasn’t long before he was in various bands. However, the magic began to happen when he and a school friend Robert Reynolds got together with drummer Paul Deakin and they became the Mavericks. At that point their influences were the class country acts, such as Hank Williams and Patsy Cline – and mixed with Raul’s Latin roots they produced a unique sound.

They worked throughout the 80’s and by the autumn of 1990 they were ready to release their own album called… The Mavericks! Raul had written the songs, and they were now joined by the guitarist Ben Peeler.  The success of their album lead them to be signed by MCA, and this was when Raul really began to focus on writing, and on singing – using his magnificent, distinctive voice as an instrument to make, as I mentioned, their unique sound.

They played their first gig in Nashville in 1991, and David Lee Holt joined Deakin, Reynolds and Malo as lead guitarist. Fame followed, success building on success. In 1995 Nick Kane became lead guitar, and it was this quartet which really cemented the firm foundations which had been set during the early 90’s.  Various other artists were associated with the band, including the one and only Jerry Dale McFadden. The Latin rhythms  of Raul’s background and heritage began to infiltrate their music making them different from any other band in the USA, and in the world. In fact, the world embraced the Mavericks, and they developed a huge following in Europe and in Australia but also in many other countries too.

As with most bands, there were tensions and difficulties, and people wanted to follow different paths; the band separated for  while and Raul released his first solo album, the magnificent ‘Today‘. The band reunited this time with the exuberant Eddie Perez as lead guitarist. An album was released and then once again, the members of the Mavericks drifted to pursue different interests and journeys. Raul continued to make albums and tour, sometimes solo, sometimes with a young accordionist, Michael Guerra.

The band reunited (to great joy from their many fans) and now with Jerry Dale McFadden as one of them, and always supported by Michael Guerra and usually Max Abrams on saxophone; this description –  “a country band whose neo-honky-tonk tunes hark back to the 1950s and 1960s” although still true, became only part of what their music is today… Far wider, more eclectic, more diverse, full of passion and driving energy, still embracing their fans in a way many other bands do not, which is why their future  success is probably guaranteed.

Throughout his career Raul has played with, been part of, collaborated with a wide variety of musicians from different genres of music; he recorded an album with The Royal Northern Sinfonia chamber orchestra of Great Britain, with Los Super Seven (“we maybe more but we are seven”) and has guested and featured on albums by many of the greatest singers of today.

The Mavericks have a huge back catalogue; songs they have written, and those written by others. They have performed and recorded covers from almost every major artist from across most genres of modern/poplar/contemporary music, as well as going back to their roots, and the music and artists who influenced them.

The music and performances and instrumentation is always superb, the rhythm from drums and bass (in the past bass guitar, more recently upright bass) keyboards, and  the Tex-Mex-Latino-Cuban sound from accordion, brass (in the past the Havana Horns, now a duet of sax with Max Abrams, and trumpet)  the melody – original, clever, often innovative –  but I would suggest that it is the voice which is the forefront, that which captivates and engages. Raul’s voice is, to repeat, a “mesmerising voice” which conveys “great joy, or tenderness, or sorrow, or  enthusiasm, or passion, or loss, or heartbreak, or fun, or anger, or love…

Raul not only sings, and plays, but writes… a Wikipedia entry shows a small sample of his most widely known songs, songs which what might be called ‘the general public’, would know – ‘All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down’, ‘Dance the Night Away’, ‘Here Comes the Rain’, ‘I Should Have Been True’, ‘There Goes My Heart’, ‘What a Crying Shame‘… but Raul must have written, performed, recorded, collaborated on hundreds more. As well as the Mavericks albums, Raul has written and released many others as a solo artist. Every fan will have their favourite, sometimes obscure song written by Raul.

Raul’s voice is captivating, hearing him singing even if you have never seen him live or recorded is mesmerising. However, to see him live, to listen to him performing in font of an audience is something else. He is charismatic, simply that. Performing solo, performing with a small ensemble, with the Mavericks, with a big band or even an orchestra, he shines, he illuminates the stage – and yet is also part of the whole performance.  He performs with passion, to use a clichéed phrase, he always gives a hundred percent, always. And yet… and yet he is modest, it is never about himself, it is about the music.

Raul has exceptional and extraordinary talent, and yet when you meet him (which many fans are able to do as he so generously comes out after nearly every gig) the ordinary fan can’t help but be struck by his modesty, his friendliness and his gratitude to those who buy his music and come to his concerts.  He is one of the most gifted, talented, versatile, imaginative, stunning people I have ever met. He is certainly the most charismatic.

This is a video which demonstrates the sort of person Raul is; a concert I attended was cancelled before it even started due to problems with the water supply. Most of the audience left and went home, tickets refunded; us hard-core fans waited, and were rewarded by Raul coming out and with Jerry Dale McFadden and trumpeter Paul Armstrong and sax-player Max Abrams, entertaining us – here is one of many videos taken of that night:

The article below will give you an insight into Raul’s passion for freedom and liberty, and his anger at the racism and destructive attitudes which are pervading his country and the world:

https://www.raulmalo.com/about.html

Here are some more links about Raul:

http://www.songwritingmagazine.co.uk/interviews/interview-the-mavericks-raul-malo/36532

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/raul-malo-mn0000340527/biography

http://www.encyclopedia.com/people/literature-and-arts/music-popular-and-jazz-biographies/mavericks

The Mavericks Collection

The first album I ever heard

 

Just like Eddie

Everybody who ever meets Eddie Perez of the Mavericks just adores him…. here is something I wrote a couple of years ago:

The Mavericks have been around for quite a while and like good wine they have just matured with age. Sometimes the recipe has changed a little, there were a number of lead guitarists who plaid with them in the 90’s, David Lee Holt,  Ben Peeler and Nick Kane but at the beginning of the new millennium they appeared with a new and very sparkly star, Eddie Perez. The Mavericks have been on tour in the UK and we went to see them at Plymouth; each time I go to a gig I think it is the best ever and cannot be surpassed, and each time I’m wrong because the next is better!

DSCF3864

Eddie has played with many famous and great musicians and singers before becoming a maverick. He is an amazing and unbelievably  talented maestro of the guitar, but his wonderful personality comes out when he performs. There are a lot of big characters in the Mavericks and Eddie is a big character too, specialising in extraordinary and stylish shoes… among other things!! He is a very interesting person to talk to and always has time for fans, chatting, signing autographs and having his photo taken.

DSCF3865

The man who puts show in the business

 

The Mavericks have been around for quite a while and like good wine they have just matured with age. Sometimes the recipe has changed a little, there were a number of lead guitarists who plaid with them in the 90’s, David Lee Holt,  Ben Peeler and Nick Kane but at the beginning of the new millennium they appeared with a new and very sparkly star, Eddie Perez. The Mavericks have been on tour in the UK and we went to see them at Plymouth; each time I go to a gig I think it is the best ever and cannot be surpassed, and each time I’m wrong because the next is better!

DSCF3864

Eddie has played with many famous and great musicians and singers before becoming a maverick. He is an amazing and unbelievably  talented maestro of the guitar, but his wonderful personality comes out when he performs. There are a lot of big characters in the Mavericks and Eddie is a big character too, specialising in extraordinary and stylish shoes… among other things!! He is a very interesting person to talk to and always has time for fans, chatting, signing autographs and having his photo taken.

DSCF3865

Another cover story

It goes without saying that choosing a cover for your book or your CD is crucial… you can’t judge a book by its cover, or a CD by its sleeve maybe, but people do all the same. I know I do! I was drawn to the book I’m reading now, The Watchers by Stephen Alford, by its cover.

I struggle over the covers for my books, as I self-publish I have to choose and design them myself. I want to say so much in what I choose, and have to appeal to people I do not know, with imagination to read all sorts of things into the picture, style, even the font! Yes, some people cannot abide comic sans, and are prejudiced against Helvetica!

'What a Crying Shame', released in 1994, Raul Malo, Paul Deakin, Nick Kane, Robert Reynolds@

‘What a Crying Shame’, released in 1994, Raul Malo, Paul Deakin, Nick Kane, Robert Reynolds,

‘What a crying Shame’ is an instantly recognizable song (in the UK anyway) and the CD has an amazing ten other songs on it.

  1. There Goes My Heart
  2. Pretend
  3. I Should Have Been True
  4. The Things You Said To Me
  5. Just A Memory
  6. All That Heaven Will Allow
  7. Neon Blue
  8. O What A Thrill
  9. The Losing Side Of Me

There has been a recent post on Facebook about this cover, by fans, it has to be said, who comment such things as “I just realized that Robert is turned away from the camera and you can’t see his face and that Nick is the only one facing the camera”, “This was the first CD that I heard and I instantly fell in love with the Mavericks. I love every song on this CD!!!!”, “How telling is this cover?”, and “Very enigmatic… there’s a whole novel in that picture… and maybe I’m writing it!”… you can guess, maybe,who wrote the last comment.

What is the cover trying to say, and what do people looking at it understand? I read character, relationship, motivation into the way the four men have posed themselves (or been posed, but I feel it’s more likely to be them choosing the image) Their ages range from twenty-nine to forty, and this line-up lasted about eleven years; Raul is looking down at his almost linked hands, Paul has hands in pockets and is gazing at the ground, Nick stands squarely with arms folded staring at the camera, and Robert has turned away from the camera and the others, with his long hair flying. It is enigmatic indeed.

cover 11

The back of the cover; now Nick is on the left, he might be standing or moving to walk out of the scene, but he seems still to me; now Paul is looking at the camera, and so is Raul  although his eyes and expression are shaded by his hat; Robert is looking away, as if he’s thinking of something else, can almost see something else. They are very still, very serious in this shot. This photo was used in a cropped version on the CD ‘The Best of the Mavericks’

cover 12

The inside of the cover, just basic listings and credits; you may notice that Nick does not appear on the recording credits here.

cover 13

The back cover of ‘The Best of The Mavericks’, no smiles, cool appraising stares, and now at last Robert looks out of the photo at us.

DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY… AND HOW!!

Isn’t it strange how something as little as liking a certain song can change your life completely? My husband Bari  is a rock drummer and he used to be in a fabulous band called Driving Force. They played many great songs but a couple I really liked were by a band I didn’t know called The Mavericks. For some reason I though they were Welsh and when I borrowed a CD from the library I was surprised to find they were American.

This CD was ‘The Mavericks Collection,’ and I stared at the front cover and four confident men stared back at me, very cool guys indeed. I looked at their names, trying to work out which was which, Paul Deakin, Nick Kane, Robert Reynolds and Raul Malo. I figured that maybe the one with the Spanish name was the guy on the left with the beard, or the dark guy standing at the back… I got to know them very well since then, since 2002.

I listened to the CD and was totally hooked, the music, the voice, the way they played their instruments, the driving drums and bass beat, the lyrics… the sheer exuberance and sexiness… I was in love!

from left to right: Robert Reynolds, Raul Malo, Nick Kane, Paul Deakin

I soon discovered that the man with the sensational voice was Raul, lead guitar was Nick, bass and vocals Robert, and on the drums Paul. When I leant that most of their music was original, much of it written by Raul I was even more impressed and in awe of their talent. I began to buy every CD of theirs I could find and also discovered a great on-line community at the Mavhouse, a fan site which sadly no longer exists.

The Mavs were having a bit of an intermission but Robert and Paul were touring Britain with Kevin Montgomery and the Raodtrippers. It was a truly miserable night when I first went to see them at the fantastic Polish Club in Bristol and I was completely blown away. The music was so loud it made my fillings ache, I danced non-stop and had the first of many amazing nights in their company. Raul came to Britain on a solo tour and I saw him in Birmingham; it was a dreadful venue and I was stuck right at the back  but he was just fantastic, truly a star.

The Mavericks returned to Britain with Eddie Perez on lead and I saw them at the Liverpool Summer Pops in 2003 and then at Warwick University, in Oxford, in Cardiff, several times in Bristol… and each time I was just stunned at their talent virtuosity… not to mention their charm and wit! A night with them was full of laughter as well as music!

Through that site and others I began to make real friends, Hannah from Coventry who I met at the Liverpool gig, and Carol Lee from Pennsylvania who came over to visit me and my family in about 2005.

For various reasons the band split up but Raul continued to tour solo and I saw him in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Belfast, and Robert and Paul visited a couple of times a year with Kevin Montgomery and I followed them to Bristol, Cardiff and Devon… and now they are reunited and will hopefully come back across the Atlantic to wow their European fans!

This is not all, however. I have already mentioned Hannah and Carol Lee. Through Raul’s web-site I have made some wonderful friends on his forum and had some amazing adventures and fun!

Elly from Holland  is a great Mavericks and Malo fan and we meet a couple of times a year, either at her home in the Netherlands, or here in England.

We always have a wonderful time staying with Elly and her family in the Netherlands

I love to get together with Mona from Belgium and Willem and Marianne from the Netherlands. I always enjoy meeting up with Susie from the Midlands who is a great cook and lives in the most idyllic cottage.

At gigs I look froward to meeting Mand and Carolyn and Fiona, Maureen and so many other really great people.

Susie, Maureen, Mand, Raul, Carolyn, Elly, Fiona, Lois

I have yet to meet my forum friends from the USA but I have had such kindness, generosity and support from them over the years in so many ways. When we do get together one day,  it really will be fabulous!

And this is all thanks to the Mavericks… they truly have changed my life, and inspired my writing too!

A favourite picture of the boys when young: –

Paul Deakin, David Lee Holt, Raul Malo, Robert Reynolds

Just a little footnote, remember I mentioned my husband’s band was Driving Force? Looking on Wikipedia I noticed this comment: Writing much of the material, and being a versatile singer, Raul Malo was a driving force behind the band.