My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Crystal Gayle – ‘When I Dream’

when-i-dreamBy 1978 Crystal was one of the biggest stars in country music, thanks to her massive crossover success. It was no surprise that the lead single from her new album, ‘Talking In Your Sleep’, raced to #1 on the country chart. A fine ballad with a beautiful melody and melancholy underpinning written by Roger Cook and Bobby Wood, it sets out a woman’s doubts of her man’s fidelity. The lush instrumentation and Crystal’s outstanding vocal helped it cross over, and it was her second biggest international hit. It was also top 20 US pop hit, and peaked at #3 on the AC chart.

It was followed by another chart topper, the handclapping ‘Why Have You Left The One You Left Me For’. Another strong emotional vocal and well-written song, albeit not as good as its predecessor, it was catchy and also crossed over, peaking at #22 on the AC chart.

It was still relatively rare to issue more than two singles from one album in the late 1970s, and it is a sign of Crystal’s stature that the third single from When I Dream, the title track, reached #3 on the country chart. The wistful ballad is a fine Sandy Mason song which Crystal re-recorded for this album, and which has become a standard.

‘Heart Mender, written by Richard Leigh and Milton Blackford, is another melodic AC ballad with a tune somewhat reminiscent of Dolly Parton’s ‘Here I Come Again’ and a delicately delivered vocal. It was released as a single in 1980 to promote Favorites, a compilation of non-hits from her time on United Artists, after she had jumped ship for Columbia; but competing with brand new material, it barely charted.

‘Hello I Love You’, written by Roger Cook and Charles Cochran, is rather boring MOR, and Dave Loggins’ ‘Don’t Treat Me Like A Stranger’ is awkwardly paced and very pop sounding.

Much better is Bob McDill’s pretty love song about keeping a marriage going, ‘Too Good To Throw Away’. ‘Paintin’ This Old Town Blue’, written by W T Davidson, is also very good in a jazzy vein.

There are a handful of covers illustrating the range of Crystal’s influences. The standard ‘Cry Me A River’ also draws on her jazz leanings, and is given a sultry reading. Story song ‘The Wayward Wind’ is also beautifully sung in an AC style. Ian Tyson’s cowboy love story ‘Someday Soon’ gets a more stripped back arrangement, and is lovely. Best of all is Crystal’s gorgeous reading of Johnny Cash’s ‘I Still Miss Someone’.

This album showcases Crystal Gayle at the peak of her powers. While it’s not the kind of country music I personally prefer, I can’t deny it’s an excellent record of its kind, well produced by Allen Reynolds, and i enjoyed listening to most of the tracks.

Grade: A

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2 responses to “Album Review: Crystal Gayle – ‘When I Dream’

  1. Razor X January 13, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I really like all three singles from this album, particularly “Talking In Your Sleep”.

  2. Alan Jobe January 13, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    My favorite Crystal album produced by Allen Reynolds. Like ‘Magic’, it had an iconic cover photo, also peaked at #2 on the country album chart, and went to platinum status.

    Talking In Your Sleep is in my top 5 favorite Crystal singles (yes, I have ranked them). She actually turned this song down while recording We Must Believe In Magic, but changed her mind when she began her next album.

    Crystal had noticed that a lot of artists would put out a hit record and then try to follow it up with a song that sounded very similar. For that reason, she always liked to put out a slow song followed by an upbeat one or vice versa.

    She actually got tongue-tied trying to learn Why Have You Left The One You Left Me For. She and Reynolds had recorded eleven songs for When I Dream when they heard Why Have You Left The One and made room for one more song. ‘Talking’ and ‘Left The One’ both spent two weeks apiece at number one on the country charts.

    When I Dream is a beautiful song (and I believe it was Crystal’s mother’s favorite song she recorded). I like this version better than the one from her first album. Although it peaked at #3, it is still probably one of her most recognizable songs.

    This album was loaded with potential hits, so it’s a shame there was only time for three. My personal favorites of the remaining tracks are Someday Soon, Wayward Wind, Don’t Treat Me Like A Stranger, and Too Good To Throw Away.

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