My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Album Review: Sweethearts of the Rodeo – ‘One Time, One Night’

The duo’s sophomore album, released in 1988, continues largely in the same vein as their successful debut disc — combining elements of country and rock with tight harmonies that proved very popular with radio programmers and listeners. Like its predecessor, One Time, One Night was produced by Steve Buckingham, but co-producer Hank DeVito was nowhere to be found this time around. Janis Gill continued to hone her songwriting skills, contributing two compositions co-written with Don Schlitz and one with Gail Davies. Among the collaborations with Schlitz was the album’s lead single “Satisfy You”, an uptempo Cajun-flavored number that continued the Sweethearts’ string of Top 10 hits. It peaked at #5, as did the next single, “Blue to the Bone”, which allowed them to showcase some impressive harmony singing that was somewhat reminiscent of a female version of the Everly Brothers, whose “So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)” is covered here. The Sweethearts are joined by Vince Gill for what is, in my opinion, one of the very best versions of this song, aside from the 1960 original. It is one of the standout tracks on the album and one of my favorites.

The duo also pay homage to the Beatles with their cover version of the Fab Four’s “I Feel Fine”, which they took to #9. It was the Sweethearts’ seventh consecutive Top 10 hit and they seemed to be on an unstoppable commercial roll when they suddenly and unexpectedly lost their momentum. Their next single, the Don Schlitz/Craig Bickhardt number “If I Never See Midnight Again” fizzled out at #39. This is a beautiful song with gorgeous harmonies that deserved to chart much higher. The song could quite possibly be about the same character in the duo’s earlier hit “Midnight Girl/Sunset Town”, also written by Don Schlitz, after she’s sown her wild oats. Now a little older and wiser, she’s found true love and is ready to forsake the party scene forever:


Now I don’t care if the party starts without me
And when the clock strikes twelve, drink a toast to this old friend.
I’ll be sleeping with my darling’s arms around me
And I don’t care if I never see midnight again.

At the time I thought that, as the album’s fourth and final single, the record might not have received the same promotional push from the label as the earlier releases had. That is still a possibility, but the fact remains that it marked the end of the duo’s winning streak, and they would never chart inside the Top 20 again.

Among the album cuts, “Gone Again”, the tune that Janis wrote with Gail Davies, is the most interesting. It talks about the whirlwind pace of life on the road and the personal sacrifices that come along with fortune and fame, something that the Sweethearts could likely very easily relate to at the time. “You Never Talk Sweet”, which is the other Gill/Schlitz song on the album, is also quite good. The album’s sole misstep is the Wally Wilson/Kevin Welch number “We Won’t Let That River Come Between Us”, which seems a bit forced and doesn’t quite work for me.

The Sweethearts of the Rodeo did not enjoy a long run at the top of the charts. They released two more albums for Columbia, 1990′s Buffalo Zone and 1992′s lackluster Sisters. Neither produced any hits and they were dropped from the Columbia roster. One Time, One Night is the best of their four major-label releases. It is not available digitally, but inexpensive CD copies are easy to find. It’s worth seeking out, along with their debut disc.

Grade: A

About these ads

3 responses to “Album Review: Sweethearts of the Rodeo – ‘One Time, One Night’

  1. Occasional Hope January 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Another good album. I really like ‘If I Never See Midnight Again’ and it’s a shame it wasn’t a hit. It seems to have been easier for new acts to break through in the 80s than it is today, but a lot of them had relatively short times at the top.

    • Razor X January 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm

      A lot of acts were swept off the charts beginning in 1989 when a bunch of newcomers arrived on the scene. That may account for the short shelf life some of these 80s duos enjoyed. That and the fact that most of them seemed unable to come up with good material after the first two albums or so.

  2. Paul W Dennis January 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I think in the case of the Sweethearts of the Radio tastes shifted more toward honky tonk, however briefly. Theyleft Columbia and landed on Sugar Hill records where they released two CDs of nice music with a traditional feel but it wasn’t the traditional feel in vogue at the time.

    As you noted the next two albums that followed this one were pretty lackluster and in fact, I think that the market had reached the saturation point with their sound. I find that I almost never go back and listen to this act other than the first two CDs

    They are still around and have a new CD out shortly, their first in over 15 years

    http://www.sweetheartsoftherodeo.com/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers

%d bloggers like this: