CD Review: Raul Malo's Lucky One

Raul Malo: Lucky One (Fantasy)

He's one of the most gifted contemporary singers in any genre, and although he occasionally goes a little Andrea Bocelli on us, Raul Malo can really bring the swoon with his clear, heart-on-sleeve tenor. The ex-Mavericks frontman, solo since 2001, calls to mind his former band on Lucky One, although it's less categorically country. He brings tinges of high-lonesome Western, Spanish, swing and classic pop balladry into play.

Malo, who has done a couple of cover records, co-wrote each of the 12 tracks on Lucky One, beginning with the title track, a jaunty charmer with a south-of-the-border air. He breaks out his inner Roy Orbison — not too much of a stretch, seeing as it's right near the surface — on a few tunes, most notably "Something Tells Me." He drops a little uptown blues on "Ready For My Lovin'," finds just the right swagger on the breezily swinging "You Always Win" and hits the Tex-Mex with "Lonely Hearts."

Malo is most apt to go over the top on ballads, none more so than "Rosalie," which is bloated on passion and pain. Yeah, Malo's a country singer, but he's also Latino — so we'll give him a pass on that one miscue.

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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