Raul Malo is celebrating his band’s anniversary with the help of a Latino country music legend…
The 54-year-old Cuban American country singer/guitarist and his The Mavericks mates have covered Freddy Fender’s iconic “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” for their next album.
The band recorded the late singer’s song because the track holds special meaning to frontman Malo.
“When I was a kid, that song meant a lot to me, and it meant a lot to my dad,” Malo tells Billboard of the song, a platinum 1975 single for Fender, one of only a half-dozen songs that year to top both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Country Singlescharts.
“We would be driving around Miami listening to it, and I remember it being a really proud moment whenever it was played. Even though my family’s Cuban and Freddy’s Mexican, just the fact there was a Latin male on the pop charts and on TV singing this beautiful song, it was a source of pride.”
Malo adds, “It had a verse in Spanish, and it was on the pop charts and on the country charts. You think, ‘My gosh, how does that happen?’ Of course, those are the mysteries of the music business. That’s why we love it and hate it at the same time, but [the song] was a sweet miracle, for sure.”
Malo says “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” will be part of a covers set due out this fall, likely late October or early November, that commemorates the Mavericks’ 30th anniversary, which the group has been touring to celebrate all year. The genre-hopping group has already released a rendition of John Anderson‘s “Swingin‘,” and Malo says the rest of the album will feature “a collection of songs that have meant something to us — there are some classic country music songs in there, obviously, and there’s a few surprises thrown in there for good measure.”
The group is continuing to play live and celebrate an eclectic, idiosyncratic career that began with three straight top 10 country albums and a Grammy Award, as well as a resumption in 2012 — following an eight-year hiatus — that’s brought four more albums and the launch of the group’s own Mono Mundo Recordings label in 2017.
“I feel like an old vampire that has all this wisdom, but I’m still in the game and it’s been an amazing ride,” Malo says. “The Mavericks have been counted out, almost sort of the outsider. That’s been frustrating, but I realized a while ago it’s a good place to be, and we can turn that to our advantage however we want to. I like the paths we’ve taken, and our willingness to take chances. When you live a little outside the rules and outside of the game, you can really do whatever you want. That’s what works for us and what works for our fans as well.”