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Release Info: The Mavericks: From Hell to Paradise (1992)
The Mavericks made their major-label debut with their second album, 1992's From Hell to Paradise, and while co-producer Steve Fishell added a lot more gloss than the band could summon up on their first independently released disc (not all of which works in their favor), overall this set sounds noticeably stronger and more sure-footed than the Mavericks did their first time at bat. The slicker sound certainly makes the most of Paul Deakin's sharp drumming and Robert Reynolds' rock-solid bass, and vocalist Raul Malo gained plenty of control and confidence this time out, with his clear, flexible tenor shining bright on every track, especially the plaintive "This Broken Heart" and the dramatic title song. Between the Farfisa-flavored pop of "I Got You," the rockabilly-accented locomotive charge of "End of the Line," and the Latin accents of "From Hell to Paradise," the broad stylistic range of the group's best work was beginning to make itself felt, as well as intelligent and challenging lyrical themes which set them apart from the average bunch of Nashville cats (significantly, From Hell to Paradise was recorded in that noted country music Mecca of Miami, FL). A few tunes are a bit more formulaic than one might hope for, and while the Hank Williams and Buck Owens covers are fun (and show good taste), they aren't especially enlightening. But there's enough good stuff on From Hell to Paradise to confirm the musical promise of the Mavericks' first album, and pave the way for their breakthrough with What a Crying Shame.
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