Raul Malo covers a lot of ground in ‘Saints and Sinners’ CD
Raul Malo has a brand new CD out for our enjoyment. It is called “Saints and Sinners” and it is another of my new favorites.
Malo, who gained fame with his outstanding band the Mavericks in the 1990s, has released seven recordings since 2001.
Raul Malo was born in 1965. His parents met and married in Miami after each had fled Cuba separately after the revolution that put Fidel Castro in power.
Malo was in his first band at age 12 and several through his early 20s. With a high school buddy, he formed the Mavericks in 1990.
“From Hell to Paradise” was their major label debut on MCA, and during their 10-year run the Mavericks were simply one of the best bands around. As they grew, Malo began to add dimensions of Latin, jazz and ‘50s rock, moving the Mavericks away from its country roots to a more rounded group with a broader appeal.
There has always been something very infectious about Malo’s music that makes you want to frequently listen.
“Saints and Sinners” opens with the title track, a lonely trumpet leading a two-minute intro that morphs into a ‘50s surf style rocker as Malo sings “When night comes / I thank the Lord for the day. There’s not much I’m sure of / And yet still I pray” in the classic Roy Orbison style.
“Living for Today” is proof Malo can write a catchy tune, with some great lyrics addressing today’s issues. “We tried giving peace a chance / the only thing that’s wrong with that is / We’ve been at war since I was born / Ancient Rome has come and gone / The lessons there for all of us / What will we do with what we know?”
“San Antonio Baby” is a song about a jilted lover who wants his sweetheart back and is told in the finest Texas Tornados-style. In fact, the Tornadoes would be proud of this one.
Next up is a cover of Rodney Crowell’s brilliant and often covered “Till I Gain Control Again,” which Malo interprets brilliantly.
“Staying Here” is a pretty love song written and sung in that wonderful Jimmy Webb-Glen Campbell-style all the way down to the background vocals.
With “Superstar” it’s the Mavericks meet the Texas Tornados for a Tex-Mex/polka-style rocker. This is a humorous song poking fun about going from being on top of the world as a “superstar” to a point where nobody knows about you, with a chance for a comeback.
“Matter Much to You” was the first song that “hit me” from the disc. It is an incredibly beautiful and subtle song, easy to listen to with another great message “I think life is filled with endless possibilities / But fools can only see what fools can see / You may not share my point of view / Or see the world the way I do/ I hope it doesn’t matter much to you.”
“Saints and Sinners” closes with, appropriately, “Saint Behind the Glass,” a brilliant Los Lobos song that Malo does a great job with. Like the disc’s other cover, Malo manages to put his own stamp on the song.
“Saints and Sinners” is a feel good record that is a treat to listen to. There also is a great message in the lyrics about coexistence if you want to hear it. Either way Raul Malo’s new CD is one of my favorite discs in this year of incredible music.