My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Janie Fricke – ‘After Midnight’

(NOTE: After Midnight was the second album in which Fricke changed the spelling of her name to Frickie. She made the adjustment after being annoyed with mispronunciations of her name 

Following the chart topping success of Black and White, Janie Frickie’s career began to decline. The new traditionalists movement of the late 1980s all but whipped her countrypolitan stylings off the radio and thus she struggled to gain traction with her singles. 1987’s After Midnight was Fricke’s first album not to produce a top 20 hit.

As was customary, two singles were released from the album. “Are You Satisfied,” a mid-tempo bluesy ballad with Frickie’s voice in top form, stalled at #32. The thickly produced and slower paced “Baby You’re Gone” fared worse, hitting #63. It was the first single of Fricke’s career to miss the top 30 entirely.

The album also features “From Time to Time (It Feels Like Love Again),” a duet with Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers. The power ballad, which features horns, hit #21 as a single from his Partners album, which was released the same year.

Frickie turns in one of her strongest vocal performances on “I Hurt,” a stunning steel-drenched number reminiscent of something Reba McEntire would’ve recorded during this time period. “I Don’t Like Being Lonely” also features steel guitar and a lot of percussion. “Teach Me How To Forget” is more of the same, an expertly executed power ballad with forceful vocals and production.

“If I Didn’t Care” is soaring and lounge-like, with strings and distinct echoes of Patsy Cline. “My Eternal Flame” retains a countrypolitan vibe updated for the time period. “Nobody Ever Loved Me So Good” is more of the same while “It Won’t Be Easy” might be the album’s most traditional-minded number.

After Midnight is an excellent album, even if the production feels out of place for the current trends of the era. The lack of variation is the album’s sole downfall, with ten songs that all fit within the same production and tempo. If anything the production gives Fricke room to sour, turning in some of the strongest vocal performances of her career.

Grade: A


One response to “Album Review: Janie Fricke – ‘After Midnight’

  1. Paul W Dennis August 29, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    Janie’s cover of “If I Didn’t Care” may be the most famous song she ever recorded. The song was a huge seller for the legendary pop/R&B group the Ink Spots. Written by tin-pan alley songsmith Jack Lawrence, the Ink Spots single was released in 1939 and reportedly sold over 19 million copies world-wide and was a hit many times over thereafter for the Hilltoppers, Connie Francis, The Platters and David Cassidy. While no one could ever top the Ink Spots version, Janie does a very nice job with the song

    If I didn’t care more than words can say
    If I didn’t care, would I feel this way?
    If this isn’t love then why do I thrill?
    And what makes my head go ’round and ’round
    While my heart stands still?

    If I didn’t care, would it be the same?
    Would my every prayer begin and end with just your name?
    And would I be sure that this is love beyond compare?
    Would all this be true if I didn’t care for you?

    From a film clip

    the recorded version

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