Alanna Nash
December 13, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Freddy Fender Collection

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Freddy Fender
genre
Country

We gave it a C

Before his reincarnation as one of the Texas Tornados, Freddy Fender was a Lone Star legend and solid country hit maker of the mid-1970s. Down the Gulf Coast way, Fender was also known as the ”Chicano Elvis,” a description that’s apt on The Freddy Fender Collection , the newly recorded album of his biggest hits (”Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” ”Before the Next Teardrop Falls,” ”Vaya Con Dios”). Fender may not have followed the King’s slow slide into drug-induced hell (although he did a prison term for possession of marijuana in the ’60s), but much of the backing here is as schlocky — awful strings and syrupy background singers — as the worst of Presley’s later recordings. Fender’s high, tight tenor sounds just fine, but it hardly matters since the collection follows about the same formula as Fender’s original albums: a couple of countrified R&B covers mixed in with Mexican tunes and hoary pop standards. Coming on the heels of the Tornados’ gritty roots renditions, this is about as unexpected as a fly in the middle of a frozen burrito. And come to think of it, just as tasty. C

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