My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Crystal Gayle – ‘I’ve Cried The Blue Right Out Of My Eyes’

ive-cried-the-blue-right-out-of-my-eyesCrystal’s earliest recordings were made for her sister Loretta’s label Decca (later MCA) in the early 1970s. Loretta’s producer Owen Bradley served as Crystal’s producer, and the idea seems to have been to present her as a kind of junior version of the star, albeit with a little sweeter version of the Nashville Sound in the backings.

Loretta even wrote Crystal’s debut single, ‘I’ve Cried The Blue Right Out Of My Eyes’. It’s a very good song well suited melodically to Crystal’s pure voice. It reached #23 on the Billboard country charts in 1970 – a modest but promising start. Unfortunately it was to remain Crystal’s most successful single on Decca/MCA.

Follow-up ‘Everybody Oughta Cry’ was forgettable. ‘I Hope You’re Havin’ Better Luck Than Me’ (written by Ted Harris) is rather good and deserved to do better, although Crystal was definitely drawing on Loretta’s vocal stylings.

The seductive ballad ‘Show Me How’ moves more in the more sophisticated MOR direction which would prove to be Crystal’s sweet spot.

MCA never released an album on Crystal while she was actually signed to them. After Crystal had made her breakthrough, these recordings were collected on this 1978 compilation with a selection of previously unreleased tracks.

Two more of Loretta’s compositions were included: the catchy but slight ‘Sparklin’ Look Of Love’ is very much Crystal as Loretta junior. ‘Mama It’s Different This Time’ is much more interesting, dating from Crystal’s first session in 1970 when she was only 19. She plays the part of an even younger girl still in high school, defying Mom’s best advice about a young man, and not learning any lessons from her previous boyfriends, because

Billy has a job after school
He drives a car and the way he looks is cool

The boy I thought I loved last week
He sure fed me a line
But mama, it’s different this time

Knowing Crystal married her own high school sweetheart the same year (they are still together today), and that Loretta herself famously wed even younger adds a fascinating layer of complexity to how we hear the song.

Their brother Donald Ray Webb contributed ‘Clock On The Wall’, which is quite good and given a heavily strung arrangement. ‘Too Far’ is a sad Marty Robbins song with a pretty melody which suits Crystal’s voice and which is a highlight. Also very good is Joe Allen’s ‘Touching Me Again’, another song to have an orchestral backing.

‘MRS Degree’ is a rather dated song about rejecting higher education in favour of early marriage and housekeeping.

While this release was a cash-grab from MCA, it is still interesting to hear Crystal’s early music and the roots of her later sound.

Grade: B-

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7 responses to “Album Review: Crystal Gayle – ‘I’ve Cried The Blue Right Out Of My Eyes’

  1. Ken January 4, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Crystal possessed a beautiful voice but her producer Owen Bradley was unable to create a distinctive sound or style to set her apart from the field of female country singers during that era. Lacking authentic rural roots as well as the distinctive Kentucky accent of her sister Crystal’s material could not be based in those same traditional hard-core country themes. Bradley was searching for a winning formula. As Hope indicated the performances were well done but the songs were not strong enough to become hits. However this album provides an opportunity to hear a future star and her iconic producer attempting to find her niche. Producer Allen Reynolds discovered the perfect formula a couple of years later after Crystal had moved to United Artists. He applied the same minimalist approach that had worked so well for another of his artists Don Williams. It was a perfect fit for Crystal’s vocal style and the changing sound of country music during the mid-1970’s.

    MCA issued this album to coincide with the re-release of her first single “I’ve Cried (The Blues Right Out Of My Eyes)” It peaked at #40 on Billboard early 1978. The vinyl album was released in the U.S. with a different cover photo than shown above. All ten songs were also reissued on a budget CD in the 1990’s titled “Crystal Gayle” [MCA 21001]

    Albums of this type that contain early material by an artist that earned greater fame a few years later might be considered by some to be a “cash grab” by their former record label. However it is also an opportunity for core fans to obtain rare recordings and to hear an artist’s musical evolution. By 1978 three of the four original Decca & MCA singles were long out of print and two other songs had never been released. Had this collection not been released those songs may have never again seen the light of day. If you enjoy Crystal’s music it’s definitely worth a listen.

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