My Kind of Country

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

Album Review: Mandy Barnett – ‘I’ve Got A Right To Cry’

Mandy Barnett’s sophomore album, I’ve Got A Right To Cry, released in 1999, is the stuff of country legend. Her producer for the project was the iconic Owen Bradley, who Barnett had chosen to bath the project with his classic touches. Just four songs into the recording process, Bradley died suddenly and very unexpectedly at age 82.

As the story goes, Barnett didn’t know what to do, or how she could even go on to finish the album. Fortunately, Bradley’s equally iconic brother Harold stepped in and the album became a tribute of sorts to Owen’s indelible mark on country music during the 1960s. Remarkably, the album didn’t change much at all after Owen’s passing. He had already provided notes on the songs they were to record together, which Harold used when producing the remaining tracks.

The album itself failed to chart and didn’t launch any charting singles. None of this is surprising – there was little to no appeal in mainstream Nashville for the old classic sound of country music in 1999. The songs are mostly classics, taken from that golden era of country music Barnett loves so much.

The title track, a wonderful soaring torch ballad, comes courtesy of Joe Liggins, an R&B pianist during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It’s followed by Don Gibson’s 1958 top 5 hit “Give Myself A Party,” a steel-drenched ballad with a nice tempo.

The engaging ballad “Trademark” comes from the pen of Porter Wagoner. “Funny, Familiar, Forgotten Feelings” is Barnett’s fine take on the Mickey Newbury classic that found a home with the likes of Gibson, Tom Jones, and Engelbert Humperdinck.

Two of the album’s songs have ties to Patti Page. “With My Eyes Wide Open I’m Dreaming,” which she originally recorded in 1949, is exquisite. “Evertrue, Evermore” is of just as high a quality.

“I’m Gonna Change Everything” was a #2 hit for Jim Reeves two years prior to his death in 1962. Barnett’s take on the song is excellent. “Don’t Forget to Cry” is the Boudleaux and Felice Bryant song made famous by The Everly Brothers. Barnett turns in a truly wonderful performance.

“Who (Who Will It Be)” is a newly recorded jazzy number that Barnett treats beautifully. “The Whispering Wind (Blows On By)” is one of the album’s strongest tracks. “Mistakes” is another lovely torch ballad.

I highly recommend seeking this one out if you haven’t heard it or need to hear it again after all these years.

Grade: A

3 responses to “Album Review: Mandy Barnett – ‘I’ve Got A Right To Cry’

  1. Stan Zorin May 21, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Truly a very good album. And it has an excellent sound – the audio engineering of this album is first rate, made in times when music wrecking dynamic compression was not in fashion, like today is.
    Thanks for the tip, I am buying a couple of CDs.
    By the way, this sentence in the review does not make sense :
    “None of this is surprising — there was little to no appeal for the modern country music in 1999.”
    Did you want to say : “None of this is surprising – there was little to no appeal for the old classic sound of country music in 1999.” ?

    • Jonathan Pappalardo May 21, 2018 at 9:28 am

      Thank you for catching that, Stan. I’ll make the change. I meant to say what you said, although I’ll add I was referring to mainstream, commercial country music and the fans (I was one of them at the time and I still love late ‘90s country) who consumed that music.

  2. Ken May 21, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Unfortunately for Mandy she arrived on the scene just as most good country music was exiting the genre. Too bad because she is an awesome singer. Few performers have the chops to authentically perform the Patsy Cline style but her onstage portrayal in the stage presentation “Always Patsy Cline” was superb.

    In addition to Joe Liggins’ 1946 #12 pop version of “I’ve Got A Right To Cry” the song was revived by Hank Williams, Jr. in 1971 who scored a #6 country hit. Barnett’s recording mirrored Hank’s bluesy arrangement including the lead guitar licks.

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