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My Friend Freddy
by James Marvell
published April 2015

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 industry.

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

Miss Mexico Endorses James Marvell's song! Yolanda De La Cruz (Miss Mexico 1985)