Vern’s third solo album was released in 1979. Produced as before by Gary Paxton, it boasts some excellent songs and stellar vocals, but is marred by rather dated production. The Jordanaires sing backing vocals, legendary steelie Pete Drake and piano man Hargus ‘Pig Robbins’ all contribute, but the overwhelming presence is that of the string section.
The title track is an excellent almost-cheating song, with a catchy tune and great vocals, which is my favourite track. As the lead single it performed respectably, peaking at #16. A middle aged singer meets up with a married woman in a bar after his show, but after they swap photos of their kids, decides their hearts really aren’t in it any more:
You’ve got somebody
I’ve got somebody
What are we doing here?
This scene was fun when we were single and young
Now we’re just fighting the fear
You got somebody
I got somebody
Why can’t we go home?
When you’re trying to prove you’ve still got what it takes
You’re afraid to walk out alone
The follow-up single, ‘All I Want And Need Forever’ is a nice love song which Vern sings intensely, and which faltered just outside the top 20. The third and last single was one of four songs written or co-written by Vern on the album. ‘Sarah’s Eyes’ is a story song typical of 70s country with another beautifully judged vocal, but was not a success, failing to make the top 50.
‘Til I’m Over Gettin’ Over You’, another co-write, is an okay song with rather intrusive jerky production. ‘Fifteen Hundred Times A Day’, which Vern wrote alone, is a fine song about having trouble getting over someone, with some interesting instrumentation. The beaty ‘Took It Like A Man, Cried Like A Baby’ is quite entertaining although the cheerily upbeat sound does not quite fit the heartbroken lyrics.
‘He Must Be Lovin’ You Right’,also co-written by Vern, is a the story of a man who sees his ex is happy with another man. The asong is a classic heartbreaker and the vocal is excellent, cutting through a rather poppy production with strings and loud brass. In the equally strung ‘The Rock I’m Leanin’ On’, Vern plays the contrasting role, that of the man who has stepped in when another man has let down the woman. Producer Paxton wrote the melancholy ‘She’s Gone’, where all joy has gone out of the world for the protagonist.
Vern’s instantly recognisable vocals are great throughout, but the heavy handed Nashville Sound production with extensive use of string sections, if not an entire orchestra, make this less essential than Vern’s later classics. One of the few let-ups from the orchestra comes with a lively slice of rock and roll in the form of a surprisingly effective cover of ‘Shake, Rattle And Roll’.
The album did not sell very well, and failed to chart. Elektra released a Best Of compilation, but no more new material. You’ve Got Somebody was re-released on its own on CD a couple of years ago (but isnt easy to find), and is also on the new 3-on-1 bargain reissue with its Elektra predecessors. While it’s not his very best work, that voice is in fine form and makes the record worth getting hold of.