My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Loretta Lynn – ‘Before I’m Over You’

before i'm over youLoretta’s second album in 1964 saw her success continue with two top 5 singles, both written by Betty Sue Perry (1934-1974), a staff songwriter for Sure-Fire Music, the publishing company owned by the Wilburn Brothers. The title track, peaking at #4, is a plaintive lost love tune. The bouncy ‘Wine, Women And Song’ is more typical sassy Loretta fare, complaining about her man’s failings and threatening retribution. Loaded with honky tonk piano, it was her biggest hit to date at #3.

Loretta also wrote a couple of songs. ‘Where Were You’ is a good song about the recriminations after a failed relationship. The backing vocals sound a little dated but do not overwhelm it. ‘This Haunted House’ is another sad song about clinging to memories.

It was commonplace in the 1960s for artists to cover contemporary or slightly older hits on their albums. The up-tempo ‘Singin’ The Blues’ had been a country hit for Marty Robbins and a pop one for Guy Mitchell in 1957. It was revived by Gail Davies in the 1980s, and new Hall of Fame inductee Randy Travis covered it on his No Holdin’ Back album. Loretta’s robust version stands up well against other versions.

Freddie Hart’s ‘Loose Talk’ was a seven-week #1 in the 50s for Carl Smith. The lyric about false gossip threatening a marriage might be a credible cover by a contemporary artist plagued by tabloid rumors, and Loretta’s version is solid.

‘The End Of The World’ was a monster multi-genre hit for Skeeter Davis in 1962, and Loretta’s version is more conventionally country than Skeeter’s heavily orchestrated take, and nicely done. The songwriting team of Sylvia Dee and Arthur Kent also contributed ‘Who’ll Help Me Get Over You’, about the downside of being someone else’s shoulder to cry on. Sweet steel guitar adds the right touch of melancholy beneath Loretta’s emotional vocal, and I like this one a lot.

‘You Don’t Have To Be A Baby To Cry’ was originally a pop song of some vintage. It had most recently been a pop hit for British girl duo The Caravelles, but Loretta’ version owes more to Ernest Tubb’s 1950 country version.

Country standard ‘My Shoes keep Walking Back To You’ is actually a Bob Wills penned tune, but is a traditional country shuffle, which is a real highlight here, ideally suited to Loretta. The same goes for the plaintive ‘Fool No. 1’, which was originally a hit for Brenda Lee. It seems to be the only song written by Sure-Fire writer Kathryn Fulton, and was the song which Loretta demo’d to get her Decca deal (thanks to Ken Johnson for that snippet). Finally, album closer ‘Get Set For A Heartache’ is another classic country ballad, backed with prominent fiddle.

Although much of the material consisted of covers, this is an excellent album of real country music from a rising star.

Grade: A

3 responses to “Album Review: Loretta Lynn – ‘Before I’m Over You’

  1. Ken April 6, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Released exactly six months after her first LP Loretta’s second album demonstrated that she was on her way becoming a major country star.

    “Get Set For A Heartache” is the oldest track on this set and was from Loretta’s first Decca recording session on September 8, 1961. Released as her third single in the fall of 1962 it failed to build on the “Success” of her first top ten hit. Though it did not chart in Billboard the single spent nine weeks on the Cashbox survey where it peaked at #31. A fine album track but clearly does not sound like hit material.

    The title track was recorded at her second Decca session more than two years before this album was released. “Before I’m Over You” already had been in the Decca vault for a year and half before it was released as her fifth single in October 1963. I must confess that this has been one of my favorite Loretta Lynn songs since I first heard it over 50 years ago. Betty Sue Perry outdid herself creating a perfect narrative in rhyme of a rejected woman confessing her broken heart. Each line perfectly leads into the next backed with a superb melody. Loretta’s inflections could not have been better. Plenty of memorable lines but my favorite is “I’m goin’ crazy yes I know and I don’t have far to go.” It remained on the charts longer than any other Loretta Lynn single – 25 weeks in Billboard and 26 in Cashbox.

    The next single “Wine, Women And Song” was initially rejected by producer Owen Bradley because he disliked the title. Good thing for Loretta that he changed his mind. Perhaps he was influenced by the Wilburn Brothers who held the publishing rights to the song. Loretta’s first uptempo single featured a contemporary arrangement highlighted by Floyd Cramer’s tinkling piano, the Jordanaires inventive vocals and Buddy Harman’s prominent drum track. It was Loretta’s biggest hit to date remaining on Billboard for 24 weeks.

    Loretta says that she wrote “This Haunted House” for Patsy Cline’s widower Charlie Dick and their children after Patsy’s tragic death. Knowing the inspiration gives the song significantly more meaning. You can hear the sadness in Loretta’s vocal. I agree with Hope that “Who’ll Help Me Get Over You” is a stellar performance. This is my favorite non-single tune on this album. “Where Were You” is also a first rate track. Those three songs were released as B sides of singles. Wish that more original material like that would have been included rather than remakes which took up 50% of this album. It is interesting to hear “Fool #1” which could have been Loretta’s hit had the Wilburn’s not given it up to Brenda Lee to secure Loretta’s Decca contract.

    Because of the amount of remakes my grade for the entire album is B+ although I’d classify the six original tracks as A++

  2. Razor X April 6, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    I really liked Loretta’s version of “The End of the World”.

  3. Paul W Dennis April 8, 2016 at 9:23 am

    I have expressed my opinion on remakes/covers before. I’d much rather a cover of a great song than the sort of “new & original” garbage that so often served (and still serves) as album filler. I agree sometimes the covers are color-by-the-numbers productions but at least half the covers on country albums of the sixties bring something different to the song. Conway Twitty did a lot of nice covers on his albums and when Ernest Tubb covered someone else’s hit on an album, it never sounded very much like the original. Buck & Hag both would use covers to good effect.

    I don’t down-rate for material source – this album is a solid A

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