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New Trevino w/Los Lobos

The first time I heard “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights”, I was in grade school.  Freddie Fender wrote it and released it on a small label out of Houston, I think. It was a modest regional hit in the ArkLaTex area.  That’s what they call that corner where Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas meet.  My guess is, I heard it on the Shreveport station, KEEL what was owned by Gordon McClendon. It was the first full time rock n’ roll radio station I ever heard.  1959-1960, it was. The song blew my young self away.

In 1960, right after its release, poor Freddie was busted for pot posession in Baton Rouge and served three years in Angola.  Mean sentence in a mean place.  As soon as he was arrested, stations that were playing it, dropped it.

Flash forward fourteen years.  Freddie’s working as an auto mechanic and playing music on weekends.  He gets a record deal with a national label. Releases “Before The Next Teardrop Falls” and it’s a #1 record on both the Pop and Country charts in early ’75.  For the follow-up, he re-records “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights”. It goes to #1 Country and #8 Pop.  His next single, “Secret Love” is also a Number One record. ’75 was a helluva year for Freddie.

I was down at my folks house, them living in Greenville Mississippi at the time, on a pontoon boat in one of the inlets of the big river, smokin’ wacky backy, feeling sorry for myself after having been fired for the first time in my then 10-year radio career.  So, I’m out on the river with the hot young wife and the four year old daughter and the boombox and Freddie comes on with this song.  The jock said it was new, but I knew I’d heard it before and it sounded better than ever, ’cause now I was a semi-grown man and the blues spoke to me in a different kinda way, don’cha know.

“Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” was an absolute monster hit, an all time classic.  I know every young singer and band in Louisiana and Texas sings it all the time, ’cause it is so great, what a groove.  But to release it as a single takes some cajones.  I applaud Trevino for the effort and hope his roll of the dice comes up a winner. He does it well and it has been a good long time since mainstream Country radio stations had it in gold rotation.  Still, the six or seven guys calling the shots at mega-corpa-Country radio are about as clueless as the head of the environmental office at BP, so I doubt this’ll be a chart record.  Hell, the PD’s in Houston and San Antone probably won’t have the sense to give it a spin.

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