James Marvell with Dr. Eugenio Garza (Freddy
Fender's 1st cousin ) and Jose Luis Mendez
(Fender's brother) at The Freddy Fender Museum in San Betito, Texas.
The Country Cavaleers, Buddy Good on left & James Marvell on right, posing with Freddy Fender.
Freddy Fender and I hit it off immediately
back in the early 70s when I was traveling
Texas doing shows with the duo, Country
Cavaleers. Buddy Good and I (The Cavaleers)
had the opportunity to perform with Freddy on
shows thanks to our agent John Centinaro who
had us booked through The Buddy Lee Agency
out of Nashville.
Freddy and I got along well because, being
of spanish desent myself we carried on some
interesting conversations. We discussed everything
from our belief in God to the entertainment
My first expierence with Freddy was when he
had me baby sit his guitar in San Antonio. We
were booked at a show called The River Festival.
I guarded that guitar with my life! Another
memory was in 1974 when Buddy Good and I
were entertaining in Toledo Ohio at The Country
Palace, a major country night club. Buddy
was in the middle of an impersonation of Freddy
singing "Before The Next Teardrop Falls"
the crowd started cheering and applauding!
We thought it was for us. As they got louder
and louder, I whispered to Buddy over the noise
"man they love you!" What was really happening
... Fender made a guest appearance from the
back of the club, grabbed a microphone started
singing his hit! There we stood in amazement as
Freddy took the song over. Freddy was somewhat
of a joker and this showed us he really did
like The Country Cavaleers.
I still remember the night in Ohio when we had gone to a Freddy Fender performance. He
acknowledged us from the stage and later that
night we got together and went out on the town.
All of a sudden I noticed that Fender had
vanished and that concerned me because it was
nearing 3 am and he just left, taking off to the
streets to sight see. Buddy and I felt that we
should look for him in case of any danger or
problem that might arise.
We found him a while later with a group of
folks having a great time. I encouraged Freddy
to come with us as we drove up. He let me
know that he loved being there with the people
and that he loved them. Naturally, I was concerned,
after all this was Freddy Fender with
the hottest song in the world at the time!
Today, in 2015 I have just released a bilingual
song titled "Flower Of My Life" (Flor De
Mi Vida). This is a song I wrote over 40 years
ago with Buddy Good. It's a song that Freddy
Fender was interested in recording himself.
He would often tell me that he loved the song
and had plans to do it. I'm happy to report that
as I write this on March 8th 2015, Colt Records out of Nashville tells me that "Flower Of My Life" is being sent to several thousand radio
stations around the world and is already showing
up at www.indieworldcountry.com, a leading
worldwide chart out of Nashville, TN.
Freddy Fender was everybody's friend. I really
believe the world loved him and I became
a witness to that during the years I knew him.
Recently I met his brother Jose Luis Mendez
and his first cousin Dr. Eugenio Garza through
Rey Avila (founder of the Texas Conjunto Hall
of fame and Museum) at The Freddy Fender
Museum in San Benito, TX. They brought back
the feeling I once felt being around Fender.
They treated me super and made time for me
as we reminisced about their superstar relative
Freddy Fender, a true music legend.
Freddy's brother Jose reminded me this week
that Freddy was one to never give up. Jose sees
that same ingredient in me.
I'm thankful that
I'm that way, even now over 40 years later, and
proud to follow in the footsteps of one of my all
time music heroes, Freddy Fender.
(Watch on Youtube
Freddy Fender memories by James Marvell