My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Jessi Colter – ‘I’m Jessi Colter’

12776715_f496After her debut failed to gain traction, Jessi Colter went a full five years between albums. She switched labels, from RCA Victor to Capitol Records, and released I’m Jessi Colter in January 1975. The record was co-produced by her husband Waylon Jennings and record executive Ken Mansfield.

Colter composed the entire project herself, which included lead single “I’m Not Lisa,” her most remembered song and biggest hit. The stunning ballad details the anguish of a woman in love with a man who still harbors feelings for his ex:

I’m not Lisa, my name is Julie

Lisa left you years ago

My eyes are not blue

But mine won’t leave you

‘Til the sunlight has touched your face

Not only did “I’m Not Lisa” top the country singles chart, but it hit #4 of the Billboard Hot 100, two major accomplishments that wouldn’t come her way again. Colter would crack the top five just once more with “What’s Happened To Blue Eyes,” the steel-laced second and final single from this album.

The remainder of the album is hit-or-miss, with a diversion into Memphis Soul that detracts from a majority of the tracks. These songs are well-executed, especially “Is There Any Way (You’d Stay Forever),” but the rest (“You Ain’t Never Been Loved (Like I’m Gonna Love You), “Come On In,” and “Love’s The Only Chain”) just aren’t to my taste. I summarily disliked the arrangement on “I Hear A Song,” but the ballad itself is quite lovely. “Storms Never Last” had much the same effect on me.

Colter’s strongest moments on the album are, not surprising, the country ones. “For The First Time” is a glorious slice of honky-tonk, a very welcomed change of pace. She’s even better on the stunning “Who Walks Thru Your Memory (Billy Jo),” the best track by a mile. The steel guitar perfectly frames her gorgeous vocal.

I’m not trying to suggest that I’m Jessi Colter is a bad album, it’s just extremely dated to modern ears, a victim of its era and a project designed to appeal to the popular trends of the time. While she never enjoyed solo success like this again, she struck gold a year later with an appearance along side her husband, Willie Nelson and Tompall Glaser on Wanted! The Outlaws. The album not only solidified the outlaw movement in modern country, but it was the first country album to be certified platinum.

Grade: B

3 responses to “Album Review: Jessi Colter – ‘I’m Jessi Colter’

  1. Luckyoldsun March 6, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    According to Billboard, “I’m Not Lisa” was the 40th biggest hit of 1975 on the yearend Hot 100. I’m kind of scratching my head at that one because frankly, I don’t remember ever hearing it. They list it ahead of such songs as “Listen to What the Man Said,” by Paul McCartney and Wings; “I Can Help,” from Billy Swan; “When Will I Be Loved,” AND “You’re No Good,” by Linda Ronstadt; and “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker–all songs that became radio staples for many years. BTW, the #1 song of the year was “Love Will Keep Us Together” from the Captain and Tenille; and #2 was Glenn Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy”–both monster records, without a doubt!

    • Razor X March 7, 2017 at 8:32 am

      “I’m Not Lisa” was absolutely a huge record. I was very young but I remember hearing it and we did not have a local country radio station at the time.

      • Ken March 7, 2017 at 9:22 am

        I seriously doubt ANY perception put forth by luckyoldsun. His complete ignorance of the music and radio industries has been put on full display courtesy of his long string of misdirected comments. He appears to live in some kind of alternate universe detached from reality. If it were not for Wikipedia he would have nothing to post as he possesses no personal knowledge of hardly anything. But the true mystery is why he feels the need to constantly post comments regarding topics that he obviously knows nothing about. He cannot even spell Glen Campbell’s first name correctly (one “n”) How can you believe someone that cannot even copy the Wikipedia info accurately.

        Feel free to disregard his comment. Razor is completely correct that “I”m Not Lisa” was a HUGE record that garnered immense airplay in 1975 on multiple formats – country, pop/top 40 and A/C.

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