Top 10 Mavericks Songs
The Mavericks are one of the most innovative country bands around. Formed in Miami, Fla., in the late 1980s -- and fronted by vocalist Raúl Malo -- the band melds traditional country, blues and soul sounds with Latin instrumentation and styles.
The group first broke big with their third album, 1994's platinum-selling What a Crying Shame, which spawned four Top 40 country hits and propelled the band to nab the ACM Awards trophies for Top New Vocal Group and Top Vocal Group. (For good measure, the Mavericks also won Vocal Group of the Year at the 1995 and 1996 CMA Awards.) A string of critically acclaimed full-length albums followed before they broke up in 2004.
Since reuniting in 2012, however, Malo and crew haven't missed a beat, releasing three well-received albums (including 2017's Brand New Day) and nabbing the 2015 Americana Music Association's award for Best Duo or Group of the Year.
Below, The Boot counts down the Mavericks' 10 best songs.
The Mavericks relish flouting sonic boundaries and expectations. Case in point: With its peppery horns and uptempo salsa rhythms, "All Night Long" is a reverent (and dancefloor-ready) nod to Malo's Cuban heritage. Lyrically, the song pairs its spicy vibe with lyrics that spell out a forthright seduction; at one point, Malo even proclaims, "Oh, I want to love you all night long."
A major hit from What a Crying Shame — the song landed at No. 30 — the mournful, bluesy ballad "I Should Have Been True" features a protagonist wracked with guilt over his bad behavior (read: lies) toward a now-former beloved. "I should have been true / I should have been blue," Malo sighs. "I shouldn't wonder why you're gone / I should have known that I was wrong."
The Mavericks' most recent charting single, "Born to Be Blue" is a strident, electrified country-rock song that's rather sanguine about love and loss. "For everybody, there's someone just for them," Malo sings. "And, like anybody, you lose one every now and then." In fact, he almost wears this personal status like a badge of honor: "I was born to be blue."
The title track of the Mavericks' hit 1994 album was the band's first Top 40 country hit. It's easy to hear why: The narrator is stunned and saddened by the impending dissolution of a relationship, sentiments Malo expresses in a keening voice that's wracked with sorrow. Throughout, jangly, garage pop-kissed guitars amplify the thematic melancholy and contribute to the song's longing approach.
Cover songs are a staple of the Mavericks' oeuvre; in fact, over the years, the group has covered the Hollies' "The Air That I Breathe" and the Rodgers & Hart standard "Blue Moon." However, the group's take on Bruce Springsteen's "All That Heaven Will Allow," which originally appeared on the Boss' 1987 album Tunnel of Love, is perhaps their best-known cover song. The Mavericks' version is faithful to the original's earnest viewpoint, but has a fanciful touch thanks to prominent organ and stutter-step beats. Although "All That Heaven Will Allow" only reached No. 49 on the singles chart, it remains a live favorite.
A massive crossover UK hit, the horn-driven "Dance the Night Away" puts a different, upbeat spin on starting over after a relationship disintegrates. In fact, the protagonist is overjoyed to be free from an ex, and relishes the freedom that comes from being single: "I just wanna dance the night away / With senoritas who can sway," Malo croons. "Right now, tomorrow's lookin' bright / Just like the sunny mornin' light."
The Roy Orbison vibes are strong on "O What a Thrill," a Top 20 hit for the Mavericks. Written by Jesse Winchester, the romantic song brims with longing for a beautiful woman who may or may not still be into the main character. Malo warbles like a velvet-voiced crooner, as twinkling piano and R&B rhythms exude a wholesome '50s vibe.
The lead-off track from What a Crying Shame — a spry honky-tonk with a strolling, brisk tempo that's ideal for dancing — makes no bones about its lovelorn feelings, which stem from a recent breakup. "I'm standing on a bridge that's burned / It's just a lonely lesson learned," Malo sings, his pride wounded, albeit not fatally. "There Goes My Heart" peaked at No. 20 on the singles charts, and remains one of the Mavericks' biggest hits.
Co-written by Malo and Kostas, "Here Comes the Rain" is a moody song that's ideal for nursing a bout of crushing heartbreak. In fact, the bluesy, roots-rock song wears its heart on its sleeve: "Here comes the night / Dark as my soul / There's no end in sight / No shining light." Despite the downtrodden sentiment, "Here Comes the Rain" had a silver lining: The song won the 1996 Grammys trophy for Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal.
A live staple that remains the Mavericks' biggest country singles chart hit — the song peaked at No. 13 — "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down" is a classic tale of romantic betrayal. "All you ever do is bring me down," Malo sings, a wistful note in his voice. "Making me a fool all over town." Worse still, the song's protagonist saw this infidelity coming from a mile away, and is more than a little bitter over the outcome: "I tried to tell myself that you'd be true / But I expected way too much of you." But despite such emotional pain, "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down" is surprisingly carefree, thanks to lively accordion from Flaco Jiménez, jaunty organ and pedal steel, and twangy, twirling riffs.