My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Suzy Bogguss – ‘Lucky’

LuckyOne of the hallmarks of a great song is its ability to be enjoyed even when stripped down to the barest of arrangements. With her latest project, Suzy Bogguss reaffirms — just in case there was any lingering doubt — that Merle Haggard is indeed the poet of the common man and one of country music’s greatest songwriters. Lucky, which was released earlier this month, is a collection of twelve Haggard tunes, simply and sparsely arranged with an occasional– and very subtle — touch of blues and jazz.

One of Suzy’s early singles and the title track of her 1989 debut album was a cover of Haggard’s “Somewhere Between”. Her version charted outside the Top 40, but it rightly earned her a lot of attention and critical acclaim. An entire album of Haggard covers, therefore, seems like a logical choice for her. Most Haggard tributes concentrate on his Capitol recordings, which admittedly are his best, but Bogguss wisely avoids some of the more obvious choices and digs deeper into Merle’s catalog. Well-known hits like “If We Make It Through December”, “Think I”ll Just Stay Here and Drink” and “Today I Started Loving You Again” are all present as are some of highlights His 80s output on Epic — “Let’s Chase Each Other Around The Room”, “Going Where The Lonely Go” and “Someday When Things Are Good”. These are the Haggard records that I can remember as current hits on the radio. Another 80s song was a bit of a surprise. “I Always Get Lucky With You” was a #1 hit for George Jones in 1983; I had forgotten that Haggard had written it with Freddy Powers, Gary Church, and Tex Whitson. I was slightly disappointed that one my favorite Haggard songs from this era — the underrated Leona Williams-penned “You Take Me For Granted” — wasn’t included; it would have been a perfect showcase for Suzy’s voice, which is still in great form. I would have preferred it to “The Running Kind”, the album’s one misstep. Bogguss seems to be singing this one at the higher end of her register and straining slightly to do so. Her version falls short compared to Radney Foster’s fantastic 1994 recording for the multi-artist Haggard tribute album Mama’s Hungry Eyes.

“The Running Kind” notwithstanding, the other eleven tracks are excellent with “Silver Wings” and “Sing Me Back Home” being the two standout cuts. Fans of both Suzy Bogguss and Merle Haggard will not be disappointed.

Grade: A

4 responses to “Album Review: Suzy Bogguss – ‘Lucky’

  1. Leeann Ward February 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Funny. “The Running Kind” is one of my favorites on the album, particularly the arrangement.

  2. Paul W Dennis March 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I agree with Leeann – I really liked “Running Kind” although it’s not one of my favorite tracks on the album, I’d give the track a B+ and the album an A+. When you get a great singer together with a bunch of great songs you often get a sterling album such as this one

  3. Pingback: Occasional Hope’s top 10 albums of 2014 | My Kind of Country

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