Certain Songs #1114: The Mavericks – “What A Crying Shame”

Album: What A Crying Shame
Year: 1994

The Mavericks are yet another artist that Rox turned me onto.

I don’t know if she had their first two albums at the time, but at some point she got me to listen to their third record, 1994’s breakthrough, What A Crying Shame, and for the rest of their original run, their records were a staple in our household.

And why not? While they were slotted — and had their breakthrough as — a country act, the Mavericks drew their music from pop, rock and even old-school r&b, working the same territory as Lyle Lovett, albeit letting band dynamics make up for the more straightforward lyrics.

With the focus on lead singer Raul Malo’s gorgeous tenor — eternally hovering in the Roy Orbison / Chris Isaak orbit — it was impossible to resist the charms of a chorus as gracefully deployed as the one in “What A Crying Shame.”

Oh baaabeeee,
Oh, what a crying shame
To let it all slip away
And call it yesterday
Oh baaaabeeee
My life would be so blue
My heart would break in two
Oh what a crying shame

With that chorus surrounded by a heavenly 12-string guitar alternating between hooks and solos, “What A Crying Shame” was the first of a run of singles that only scraped the top thirty in the country charts, but did push the album into platinum territory, giving them enough cachet that they could continue to chart their own path moving forward.

“What a Crying Shame”

“What a Crying Shame” performed live in Austin, 2004

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