My Kind of Country

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

Album Review – Dan Seals – ‘Won’t Be Blue Anymore’

For 1985’s Won’t Be Blue Anymore, Dan Seals moved from Liberty to Capitol where he would record his next four albums. He retained producer Kyle Lehning, but brought in Paul Worley to assist this time around.  The results were spectacular, as Won’t Be Blue Anymore became Seals’ first #1 album, as well as his initial release to turn out three consecutive #1 singles, the beginning in a string of nine straight chart toppers.

Lead single “Meet Me In Montana” found Seals teaming up with Marie Osmond, who was enjoying a string of moderate success herself on Capitol/Curb at the time. Written by Paul Davis following a visit to Kalispell, Montana, his idea of the perfect place for a romantic rendezvous, the song was Seals’ first chart topper and Osmond’s second, after “Paper Roses” in 1973. It also won the pair CMA Duo of the Year honors in 1986. I love the simple elegance of the song, and Osmond’s gorgeous vocal. They play their individual parts perfectly.

Even more successful was the project’s sophomore single, Paul Davis and Jennifer Kimball’s “Bop,” a horn drenched number that also peaked at #42 on the U.S. Hot 100 and #10 on the Adult Contemporary charts. A testament to the song’s popularity, it won CMA Single of the Year honors despite some very formidable competition.  I’ve always enjoyed “Bop,” probably the campiest record not recorded by Dolly Parton at the time. The story of wanting to go dancing with your lady is timeless, as is Seals’ vocal, and they help offset the cheesy horns just enough to keep the track from feeling grating.

“Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold),” the third single, is by far the strongest of the three and perfectly showcases Seals in his signature acoustic style. Co-written by Seals and Bob McDill, “Glitters” wins because of its touching story, about the relationship between a father and daughter who are dealing with her absentee mother:

Little Casey she’s still growing and she’s started asking questions
And there’s certain things a man just doesn’t know
Her birthday came and you never even called
I guess we never cross your mind at all

Written by Seals, “Headin’ West” is an excellent dobro-accentuated bluegrass thumper that wouldn’t be out-of-place on Zac Brown Band’s Uncaged. It’s rare to hear such an upbeat track from Seals, and he pulls this style off with ease.  The title track, another Seals original, finds him channeling of the era Ricky Skaggs, with spectacular results. I love the inviting nature of the naked dobro opening, the way it exquisitely frames his straightforward vocal.  I also love John D. Loudermilk’s “Tobacco Road”, if only for the sinister sounding opening. The intriguing mystery of the shadowy opening music bed lends itself perfectly to the overall track and invites the listener in to hear the whole song.

Won’t Be Blue Anymore missteps in the middle, turning in mediocre variations on well-worn themes. “Your Love,” composed by Beckie Foster and Tommy Rocco, is a typical your-love-saved-me type ballad, while Wendy Waldman and Donny Lowery’s “You Plant Your Fields” is a boring ode to farm life.  “Still A Little Bit of Love,” from the pens of Jim Scott and Walker Inglehart, is the most pop-leaning track in both production and vocal performance, and while good, its only noteworthy for extrapolating a slick performance from the dobro. “So Easy To Need” is much the same, another good track, but nothing truly outstanding.

“City Kind of Girl” closes the album on a strong note, and uses the same guitar lick Rosanne Cash would employ on “If You Change Your Mind” from Kings Record Shop two years later. Written by Robert Gundry, “City Kind of Girl” is another age-old theme, country boy dating city girl, but Seals infuses it with sincerity, and his twangy vocal helps set it apart from the rest in this sub-genre.

Overall, Won’t Be Blue Anymore is a wonderful collection of songs and the first true showcase of Seals’ artistic excellence. A testament to Seals’ vision as an artist, most of these songs still hold up well today and unlike some of his previous solo efforts, this remains essential listening. The physical album is out of print, but easily available digitally.

Grade: A 

3 responses to “Album Review – Dan Seals – ‘Won’t Be Blue Anymore’

  1. Occasional Hope August 8, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Everything That Glitters is one of my favourite songs.

    BTW, You Plant Your Fields isn’t really about farming, it’s a metaphor about how to live in general.

  2. Ben Foster August 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I’ve never actually listened to this album in its entirety, but I’ll have to Spotify it soon. I love “Everything That Glitters,” as well as “Meet Me In Montna.” I love the story two-way story “Montana” tells, plus I’ve always thought Marie Osmond had a gorgeous voice.

    “Bop” is one of those records that’s just so campy and cheesy that I can’t help but enjoy it, warts and all, though I would like it even better without the stupid “I ain’t after your body, baby, I just want you to dance with me” line.

  3. Ken Johnson August 9, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Dan’s movement across various record labels 1983-1991 was not because he changed labels per se but rather due to name changes initiated by corporate owner EMI-Capitol. That’s why during his tenure at that entity Dan released songs on five imprints – Liberty (1983-1984) EMI America (1984-1987), Curb/Capitol (for the 1985 duet with Marie Osmond) and finally Capitol (1987-1991) Some of Dan’s 1990-91 singles were issued on the Capitol/Nashville imprint. Dan finally did change record companies in 1991 when he moved to Warner Brothers.

    The “Rebel Heart” album was released on Liberty. “San Antone,” “Won’t Be Blue Anymore” and “On The Front Line” were all originally released on EMI-America. “The Best Of Dan Seals”, “Rage On,” “On Arrival” were Capitol releases and the “Dan Seals Greatest Hits” compilation was released on Capitol/Nashville. Subsequent re-releases and compilations have been on various EMI-Capitol imprints except for reissue labels that have licensed the master recordings from EMI.

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