Album Reviews

The Mavericks: All Night Live, Volume 1 (Mono Mundo Recordings)

mavericks-live

The Mavericks
All Night Live, Volume 1
Mono Mundo Recordings

You can’t easily define the genre-bending country stalwarts The Mavericks. Sure, their sound may be considered “country,” but there’s also folk, rock, Latin, Swing, Rockabilly, and so much more to be found in their music. Fronted by the energetic showman Raul Malo, they’ve been making music since the early 1990s, and in quick time they made a name for themselves as being one hell of a live act. Even if you weren’t a fan of their music when you witnessed them live—yours truly wasn’t when he wandered into a show in the long-ago 1990s—you certainly were after you left. They split in 2004, but returned in 2012, reclaiming their title as one of the best live bands you’ll ever see.

For the first installment of their archival series, they present the world with All Night Long, Volume 1. As live recordings go, they prove the maxim that a truly gifted songwriter can make a new song sound like something you’ve always heard; almost all of this set comes from their two most recent solo albums, the 2013 comeback In Time and their most recent album, last year’s Mono. But you’d never know it, listening to “As Long As There’s Loving Tonight” and its boogie-woogie piano, because you’ll swear you heard that one twenty years ago. Same goes with the jaunty ska of “What You Do To Me,” which you could mistake for an obscure third wave ska hit from 1998. So it may come as a surprise that the songs in this set are not only from last year, but also don’t date back to their heyday.

The sixteen tracks here go by quickly, and All Night Live shows that time hasn’t dulled their live chops one jot. Don’t know when they’ll come back to your town? Don’t worry; this live album will keep you satisfied until then. Here’s to volume two; would love to hear lost vintage recordings next time around, but if their modern show is as good as this, I’ll be satisfied with Volume Two, irrespective of its contents.

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