Lovin’ Tex-Mex Style
Deep down, everybody’s got a bit of country in them. Nowadays it’s all big hats and hussied up rock and roll, but there are some more authentic musicians out there. Freddy Fender (Born Baldemar Garza Huerta in San Benito, TX) bounced around, served in the Marines, did time for possession, and over all lived the scrappy county lifestyle most modern performers only sing about. This disk revisits 20 of his biggest tracks beginning with some classic covers (“What’d I say,” “Love Cajun Style”) and a bunch of country tunes made hits by others (“Almost Persuaded,” “I’m Leaving It Up To You.”) But it’s his own material that shines; his two biggest hits “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” and “Before the Next Tear Drop Falls” remain moving songs of lost romance, and project the very essence of country music.
Fender’s voice never takes on the gravel we associate with other vintage stars; he maintains a boyish vocal despite his booze and pot driven lifestyle. Fender was never exactly on the top of the Nashville heap, but all his tracks have the elements to put him there: love and loss, sobriety and drunkenness, and most importantly finding, cherishing and losing love. If you love classic county and Americana, Fender’s efforts ought to be part of you collection. He’s Nashville, just a little south of its traditional border.