Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey
Collector’s Choice Music
Back in 1991, Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey released the original version of Mavericks. It was essentially a reunion album for these two former core members of the dB’s, a New York-by-way-of-North Carolina band of the late ’70s and early-to-mid ’80s that crafted smart, power pop songs.
Stamey went the solo route before the band’s 1984 third album was released, but the band soldiered on as a trio with Holsapple heading things up for several more years before calling it a day. Eventually, the two old friends hooked up in New Jersey during the summer of 1990 for the sessions that would produce Mavericks.
Calling Mavericks “precious”—in the best sense of the word—is a pretty accurate summation. The album showcases more of the acoustic ’60s folksy pop influences of the two songwriters and even throws in a cover tune that was originally recorded by the Byrds. The two trade off and also share songwriting duties throughout the album, but the flow is seamless.
There’s a bit of a rocker about midway through in “I Want to Break Your Heart,” but the album is largely defined by several mid-tempo, catchy, jangly tracks such as “Angels,” “Geometry,” and “The Child in You,” and a handful of more somber, largely acoustic songs like “Close Your Eyes,” “She Was the One,” and “Haven’t Got the Right (to Treat Me Wrong).”
Interestingly, Holsapple notes in the liners several observations that are easy to agree with even for an outsider: the sequencing works well, the record sounds like it cost a ton to make, and the duo’s vocals sound natural and fit together well. When released in 1991, it was a gem of an album.
For the 2008 re-release of the record, Mavericks contains six bonus songs not on the original version: one song not originally included, and five alternate versions of songs from the record. Most precious stones have flaws, and these are easily the new album’s weak points. None of the bonus tracks are superior to the ones included originally and several new versions aren’t even terribly different.
The biggest offense is ending this record with “I Knew You Would,” an instrumental version of the original track “I Know You Will” with a series of out-of-place guitar solos. The song then ends into a “hidden” two phrase clip of the Beatles’ “Do You Want to Know a Secret” to close the record. Huh?
I don’t fault wanting to put on some extras for a re-release of this charming record, and the previously unreleased “Hollywood Waltz” is a decent enough addition. But adding tracks that either throw a wrench in the sequencing, the production quality, or the vocals—the very things that make this album such a treat—weren’t the way to go and dull its luster.
Despite these bonus track flaws, Mavericks still holds up well 17 years after its release. For those who never heard it the first time and can appreciate simple, beautiful pop songs that seem to stick in your head, it remains a worthwhile collection. And for those who had it originally and haven’t heard it in years, the re-release is a good reminder to go back and enjoy it again.
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