My Kind of Country

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

Single Review: Josh Turner – ‘I Wouldn’t Be A Man’

Josh Turner has had a spotty track record with country radio over the past eight years. During that time frame, he’s released eleven singles, most of which have peaked inside the Top 20, but only five of those made it to the Top 10. The five that made the Top 10 all peaked at either #1 or #2. He seems to have found his commercial niche with his latest release Haywire, a decent but somewhat uneven album which has spawned two #1 singles so far. Turner and his label are hoping that they can make it to the top of the charts three times in a row, with the release of his newest single “I Wouldn’t Be A Man.”

Originally a Top 10 hit for Don Williams in 1987, “I Wouldn’t Be A Man” is less traditional than most of Wiliams’ hits and it is one of his less remembered songs today. It was revived in 1996 by Billy Dean; his version stalled at #45 on the charts, and deservedly so. Turner’s version is more faithful to Williams’ original than Dean’s cover. Dean’s producers went for a completely contemporary — for the time — arrangement; Josh’s version prominently features the pedal steel guitar throughout, which helps keep the R&B-flavored tune rooted in country music.

The tune was written by Mike Reid and Rory Michael Bourke, and the record was produced by Frank Rogers. The sultry lyrics work well with Turner’s bass, which gives the record a sexy feel that should appeal to female listeners:

There’s a slow moon risin’
It’s shining on your skin.
The way your body moves me,
I know there’s no holding back:
No holding back

I wouldn’t be a man if I didn’t feel like this.
I wouldn’t be a man if a woman like you,
Was anything I could resist.
I’d have to be from another planet,
Where love doesn’t exist.
I wouldn’t be a man if I didn’t feel like this.

Turner’s rendition doesn’t quite pack the same punch as Williams’ version, but expecting him to do so would be setting the bar unreasonably high. Many of today’s fans are likely unfamiliar with the original, which should help Turner avoid any unfavorable comparisons.

The past few years have provided a tough environment for traditionalists like Turner, who have struggled to be relevant at radio while still staying true to their country roots. Josh’s inconsistent performance on the airplay charts reflects this struggle. A record like this one seems like a good compromise; it’s contemporary enough that it should appeal to radio programmers, but not so contemporary that it will alienate country fans.

Grade: B

One response to “Single Review: Josh Turner – ‘I Wouldn’t Be A Man’

  1. Pingback: Josh Turner "I Wouldn't Be A Man" | "I Wouldn't Be A Man" Lyrics | Josh TUrner Music | Dixie Streams Online Radio

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