My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Charley Pride – ‘I’m Just Me’

In many respects, Charley Pride was the George Strait of his day: a consistent hit maker who frequently hit #1, whose music rarely offered surprises but never disappointed his fans. 1971’s I’m Just Me was no exception. It reached #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and also produced two number one singles: “I’d Rather Love You” and the title track. The former spent three weeks at the top of the chart and was written by Johnny Duncan. It finds Pride speculating about how things might have turned out had he never met the live his life. The title track, written by Glen Martin, is a catchy, feel-good fiddle and steel number that is as unpretentious as the title suggests. It has a slight Bakersfield feel to it, despite the occasional chiming in by the Nashville Sound-style vocal chorus. In between these two singles, RCA released “Did You Think to Pray” from Pride’s gospel album, which broke his string of consecutive #1s.

In addition to “I’d Rather Love You”, Johnny Duncan contributed two other numbers. “(In My World) You Don’t Belong”, about a married man who struggles to come to terms with his infidelity. It includes a subtle string arrangement which is a bit of a departure for a Pride recording. “Instant Loneliness” is more traditional. I’m not sure why it wasn’t released a single; perhaps Duncan wanted to release the song himself, though he does not appear to have done so.

Unlike many albums of the era, I’m Just Me doesn’t rely too heavily on covers of recent hits by other artists. The one exception is a very nice rendition of “Hello Darlin'” which rivals Conway Twitty’s original version. The entire album is a solid effort, though it is slightly more heavily produced than Charley’s previous work. Thankfully these old albums are finally being re-released so they can be heard by fans of traditional country who are too young to remember when they were first released. I’m Just Me is available on an import collection with three other early Charley Pride albums.

Grade: A

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One response to “Album Review: Charley Pride – ‘I’m Just Me’

  1. Luckyoldsun July 24, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    I’ve been coming around more to Charley Pride as a giant figure from watching these videos and listening to the recordings.
    I’m Just Me was always in my top-5 Charley Pride songs. For some reason, there doesn’t seem to be any footage of him performing it live.
    It crossed my mind that with Jones and Merle gone, Charley Pride may be the last male country artist who scored a #1 hit in the 1960s (or earlier) who’s still with us. (Or at least active.) And Loretta Lynn is the only female. (There are several other stars from the ’60s who are still active–Dolly, Willie, Bare, Hank Jr.–but none of them had a #1 hit–as an artist–before the ’70s!)

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