My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: T. Graham Brown – ‘You Can’t Take It With You’

T._Graham_Brown_-_You_Can't_Take_It_With_YouYou Can’t Take It With You, released in 1991, marked T. Graham Brown’s final album for Capitol Nashville. While the album came on the heels of his top ten duet with Tanya Tucker, “Don’t Go Out,” it failed to produce any notable singles and was the first CD of his career not to chart.

Two singles were released from the project. “With This Ring,” a piano and horn mid-tempo number peaked at #31 while the title track, a ballad, failed to chart. Both singles displayed welcomed restraint in their respective styles and were excellent showcases for Brown vocally.

The remainder of You Can’t Take It With You is nicely balanced between uptempo tunes and delicately produced ballads. “Love At Work” is an excellently slinky horn drenched number while “Just A Woman” turns up the piano and drums for a rocking good time that foreshadows what was to come later in the decade. The electric guitar work on “Shaky Ground,” a wail of a rocker, lays the groundwork for songs like Tim McGraw’s “Real Good Man,” a pretty awful tune. Brown’s recording isn’t that bad as the production is nicely contained and doesn’t overshadow the track overall. “Bolt Out of the Blue” wouldn’t have been out of place on a Brooks & Dunn record and is actually quite listenable despite being a bit generic.

“The Rock” is a pretty good ballad but suffers from production that’s too bland and a vocal from Brown that lacks the subtly and tenderness needed to pull the song off. “Sweet Believer” has a better balance between vocal and production, but the horns and faux R&B stylings are cheesy. “You’re Everything She Couldn’t Be” follows the same pattern and in this mix is just more of the same. “Pillow of Mercy” is actually very good although it probably would’ve been more interesting if someone like Lee Roy Parnell had sang it instead.

After the horrible mess that was Brilliant Conversationalist, I was very pleasantly surprised when I actually enjoyed You Can’t Take It With You a lot. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means, but it shows Brown as an artist trying to pull of substance through quality songs with good production. The bland ballads could’ve used a nice dose of fiddle to make them stand out more and the rockers aren’t Vegas-y at all. This isn’t an outstanding or even a great album, but as far as Brown is concerned, it’s a huge achievement.

Grade: B

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: