From Wasted Days and Wasted Nights to Before the Next Teardrop falls, San Benito legend Freddy Fender had his fair share of top hits on his way to a Hall of Fame career. According to a friend and fellow Hispanic country music star, however, there was one song that Fender never got to record that could have been another hit single.
James Marvell and Buddy Good wrote a song called “Flower Of My Life” about 40 years ago with the intention of having Fender record it, something that unfortunately never got to happen. “When he heard the song, he genuinely liked it and really wanted to record it,” said Marvell. “For some reason or another his management told him it just wasn’t a good idea at the time,” he added.
Well, after four decades, Marvell decided the song had to get out someway and took it upon himself to record it and get it out to the public. “It was a song that I wrote along with my band mate Buddy Good and if it was good enough that Freddy Fender liked it and wanted to record it, I thought it just had to be done,” said Marvell. Well, not only has the newly recorded song gained positive radio play over the last few months, it has officially cracked the top 25 on the Indie World Country Record Charts, coming in at number 22 this week.
While Marvell is thrilled to see the song finally gaining some positive recognition, he is far from a stranger to national success. Back in the 60s’, he was part of the Warner Brothers’ group Mercy. Their biggest single was the classic “Love Can Make You Happy” which topped out at number 2 in the Billboard charts, second only to The Beatles’ “Get Back.” Still, Marvel cites Fender as not only an inspiration, but a trailblazing icon who he continues to look up to. “He was my hero! Here I am, a Spanish speaking country artist and he was the first to break the ice with that style… he gave me the motivation to do it and keep at it,” said Marvell.
After years of flying under the radar, Marvell has managed to put himself back on the map musically as he was just named entertainer of the year by DJ Jerry Mac of Country Music Planet. “A lot of people after a few years of not really hitting it big, they drop the music thing. I stuck with it, kept at it the last 40 years and I am so happy to be in a position to get Flower of my Life out,” said Marvel. In all his success, Marvel has not forgotten the Valley, which he and his wife visit quite often. “I love the Valley, it’s an absolutely beautiful place,” said Marvel.
In addition to having possible upcoming projects with artists such as Country Lou Watson, Marvel said a tribute concert to Fender in the Valley would be a dream come true for him. “It would be awesome to get some kind of tribute for Freddy and then donate all proceeds to the Freddy Fender museum there in San Benito,” he added.
Marvell plans to continue recording music, something that he thinks Fender would have admired. “I never gave up and learned recently from Freddy Fender’s brother Jose Luis Mendez that Freddy was also that way he never wanted to never give up music,” said Marvell.
– By PETE BANDA Staff Writer Reporter@sbnewspaper.com