My Kind of Country

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

Daily Archives: March 9, 2010

Classic Rewind: Waylon Jennings – ‘Don’t You Think This Outlaw Bit Has Done Got Out Of Hand?’

Album Review: Alan Jackson – ‘Who I Am’

By 1994, Alan Jackson had firmly cemented his superstar status.  He had surpassed all of his other class of ’89 alumni except Garth Brooks in sales and radio hits and his career was still red hot, with many of the surge of newcomers from the beginning of the decade to begin cooling off.  Alan would prove to be the last man standing atop the country charts as his records still consistently hit the top.

In the Summer of ’94, Alan’s fourth studio album, Who I Am would hit stores.  It would prove to be his strongest set of songs since. Who I Am debuted at the top of the Country Albums chart, and would house four chart-topping singles and another top 10 during its run.  In the meantime, the disc would sell over 4 million copies.

Opening the set is one of the weakest numbers, ‘Summertime Blues’.  While this would prove to Alan’s biggest hit to date, spending four weeks at #1, this remake of the 1950s hit for the song’s co-writer Eddie Cochran, and most famously from the movie Caddyshack, sticks out like a sore thumb to the rest of the album.  Alan was clearly ahead of his time in releasing the weakest song as the lead single from an album, a practice that seems to be custom today.

Things get back on track – and stay there – with the second track and second chart-topper, the sweet ‘Livin’ On Love’.  The song recounts the love stories of two couples, young and old.  Without any material possessions, all either pair has is love to bind them together, but that seems to be enough.  This Jackson-penned tune sounds like a slightly more traditional version of Tanya Tucker’s ‘Two Sparrow In a Hurricane’.   Likewise, ‘Hole In The Wall’ is akin to the Willie Nelson-penned Faron Young classic ‘Hello Walls’ in that we find a man going insane due to heartbreak and talking to the walls.  In Alan’s case, a small hole in the wall is grating on his nerves until he decides to tear the wall down, or at least put a big hole in it.

I remember the mid to early-90s as being the ‘it’ time for country music.  No song from that era better illustrates that point than the album’s third consecutive #1, Bob McDill’s ‘Gone Country’.  The massive sales numbers Nashville was producing at the time obviously brought in folks from all walks of life and Alan sings here of a Vegas showgirl, a struggling folk singer, and a pop songwriter all trying to change their luck in Nashville, all having ‘gone country’.

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