My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Rosanne Cash – ‘Somewhere In The Stars’

Rosanne’s follow-up to her breakthrough with Seven Year Ache was released in 1982, when she was expecting her second child. Produced as before by Rodney Crowell, she continued her incorporation of elements from other genres, although less successfully than before.

The first and most successful single, Crowell’s ‘Ain’t No Money’, peaked at #4 on Billboard. It is a midpaced song which doesn’t sound very country but is one of the better songs on the record, sung confidently. The loungy, jazzy ‘I Wonder’, written by Asleep At the Wheel’s Leroy Preston, was another top 10 hit (#8), and is well done if, once more, with little country influence.

The last single, 1983’s ‘It Hasn’t Happened Yet’, reached only #14, and is a bit dull despite a committed vocal. It is one of two John Hiatt songs, the second being ‘I Look For Love’. The latter is not very good, very repetitive with an unattractive and now very dated 80s synth-pop production. ‘Down On Love’ is a surprising AC-style, although very good, ballad written by Gordon Payne (a former sideman for Waylon Jennings) and Don White, which is very sweetly sung belying the disdain of the lyric. The mid-tempo ‘Oh Yes I Can’ written by Susanna Clark and John Reid is even closer to 80s pop, and I don’t like it much.

The highlight of the album is the gentle ‘Lookin’ For A Corner’, which Rosanne and Rodney wrote together, a resigned-sounding ballad with quite pretty instrumentation. I also quite like the dreamy title track, Rosanne’s only solo composition this time around.

A cover of Tom T Hall’s classic ‘That’s How I Got To Memphis’ is also good, with Johnny Cash making a gravelly cameo appearance. The Amazing Rhythm Aces’ cynical ‘Third Rate Romance’ is also pretty well done with a slightly Caribbean feel to the production and an understated, sultry vocal. Country fans may know the song better from Sammy Kershaw’s hit 90s version.

Sandwiched in between two of Rosanne’s most commercially successful records, this saw a slowdown in her career, but it was to prove only a temporary blip. It is readily available in CD format, both on its own and as a 2 for 1 with the follow-up, Rhythm And Romance. It is not her best work on Columbia (and certainly not to my personal taste), but if you want to track it down, it’s fairly easy to find.

Grade: C

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2 responses to “Album Review: Rosanne Cash – ‘Somewhere In The Stars’

  1. Razor X September 12, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I suppose this is one of those albums that I don’t listen to all the way through very often. I like the singles and “That’s How I Got To Memphis” and even “Third Rate Romance”, but I’m listening to the whole thing right now and you’re right, it’s really not as good as I remembered it.

  2. J.R. Journey September 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    “That’s How I Got To Memphis” is one of my favorites in her catalog, but I was always underwhelmed by this album as whole. It’s important to remember this was recorded during Rosanne’s brief cocaine-addiction period, and I assume she allowed her knack for song selection to lapse in the drug haze.

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