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The Mavericks - Live in Austin, Texas


Review: Jack Foley

LIVE albums are always difficult items to review.

By their very nature, they're designed to cater purely for the fans, to evoke fond memories of live experiences, and to showcase the talents of the artists in question as they were meant to be heard.

Having never really been a massive fan of The Mavericks, the prospect of listening to Live in Austin, Texas, was always going to be a trying affair.

Yet, for fans, it is undoubtedly a fitting showcase of the band's big stage brilliance, and the next best thing to a greatest hits collection.

Recorded on June 2, 2004 on the legendary stage of Stubbs’ Barbecue in Austin, Texas, the 16-song showcase of the band’s fun, grand show features stunning renditions of several of the best-loved songs in the band’s catalogue, along with an eclectic mix of band and fan favorites.

It was recorded live to 48 tracks of 24-bit PCM audio using the RADAR hard disk recording system, which were then mixed digitally, with no sweetening tracks, via the Sony OXFORD mixing console to 24 bit masters.

Hence, all of the hallmarks of the fevered pursuit of entertainment that is a Mavericks live show - namely, horns and tequila, Spanish and English, pure, unadulterated diversity, and of course, the band’s trademark fusion of Latin, rockabilly and soul - are featured at the Austin showpiece.

And there's no denying that from a musical point of view, it is beautifully performed and extremely diverse, having been based on the band’s personal choice, rather than any desire to produce a 'greatest hits'-themed package.

As such, it remains an enduring tribute to everything fans have come to know and love about the band, as well as becoming another chapter to the incredible saga that represents the band's history.

Starting as a club band, in Miami, The Mavericks hit Nashville in the early 90’s, taking the music scene by storm with their unique brand of cutting-edge alt-country.

In a time when the country radio airwaves were dominated by 'hat-acts', the Mavericks broke new ground with their distinctive balance of vintage music and contemporary attitude.

Hailed by critics and beloved by fans for their creatively restless methods of recording and songwriting that not only pushed format boundaries, but openly defied them, The Mavericks had an extraordinary four-record run on MCA Nashville, earning Grammy, CMA, and ACM Awards and racking up album sales in the millions.

The band toured relentlessly, crossing the globe many times over, igniting critics and audiences worldwide with their high-octane, richly-textured, genuinely different live shows.

They enjoyed great success in the UK, particularly with the Top 10 hit Dance The Night Away and the platinum album Trampoline.

By the late 1990’s, the band’s musical horizons had grown broader, but US radio’s had not.

The same creative restlessness that fueled the band’s musical innovations, paired with the tension of ten years of touring and togetherness, precipitated a hiatus-turned-breakup.

The Mavericks un-officially went their separate ways, each pursuing “non-Mavericks” musical interests, and all finding success in their individual creative outlets.

By 2002, feeling a bit of a Mavericks void that was too compelling to ignore, the band - Raul Malo, singer, songwriter and guitarist; Robert Reynolds, bass; Paul Deakin, drums and new lead guitarist Eddie Perez - reunited to record their first CD in six years, 2003’s critically-acclaimed The Mavericks (released on Sanctuary Records).

The supporting tour crossed the globe, with the band receiving high marks for their live show from critics worldwide.

Live in Austin therefore represents a definitive taste of The Mavericks at their best - live and enthusiastic.

Yet, it remains one for the fans only.

 

Track listing:
1. Dance The Night Away
2. Because Of You
3. Think Of Me (When You're Lonely)
4. Things You Said To Me
5. Here Comes The Rain
6. San Jose
7. I Want To Know
8. What A Crying Shame
9. There Goes My Heart
10. Shine Your Light
11. Save A Prayer
12. Siboney
13. I Said I Love You
14. Every Little Thing About You
15. Volvere
16. All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down


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