My Kind of Country

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

Classic Rewind: Jessi Colter – ‘I’d Rather Have Jesus’

Classic Rewind: Merle Haggard – ‘If I Could Only Fly’

Classic Rewind: Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings – ‘I Wish I Was Crazy Again’

Classic Rewind: Gene Watson – ‘The Great Divide’

Album Review: The Gibson Brothers – ‘In The Ground’

The Gibson Brothers’ insidious blend of bluegrass and folk is deeply rooted in their Northeastern rural background. This album, on Rounder, showcases both their tight high sibling harmonies and an entirely self-penned set of songs, backed by subtle arrangements and their band’s tasteful playing. Both Eric and Leigh Gibson have fine voices, but it is the blend that makes the partnership special, together with their songwriting ability.

The compelling opener ‘Highway’ is about a child pining for his errant father and then following in his restless footsteps. ‘Making Good Time’, a lovely tune about traveling with no specific plan, is one of the highlights. The gentle and heartwarming ‘Remember Who You Are’ offers some loving parting advice to a son leaving the family farm for pastures new, while ‘Little Girl’ is a sweet song addressed to a daughter.

The catchy ‘Homemade Wine’ is a surpisingly uplifting tribute to drinking and hangovers, “washed away by homemade wine”. The upbeat ‘I Can’t Breathe Deep Yet’ picks up the tempo.

‘Fool’s Hill’ is about youthful wildness in small towns and has a pretty tune and optimistic attitude.

‘Friend Of Mine’ is a beautiful ode to the writer’s guitar and indirectly to his own musical gifts.

‘I Found A Church Today’ is a delightful religious song describing a church service leading the narrator back to God.

‘My Quiet Mind’ is a slow, delicate song about hoping to find peace after losing in love, with the ethereal vocals nd beauiful melody making it something very pure and special. The song is the only one to involve a non-Gibson co-writer, Shawn Camp.

The mid-paced ‘Look Who’s Crying’ is about a man taking pleasure when the tables are turned and the woman who left him wants to come back:

Look who looks like her whole world is over
Who’s lookin’ now to cry on someone’s shoulder
Telling me that people change
And how much I still look the same
Til suddenly (til suddenly)
I’m laughing (I’m laughing) out loud
Look who’s crying all those big tears now

It has a traditional country structure with bluegrass instrumentation, and effective call and response vocals. It is one of my favorites here.

The wistful post-breakup ‘Everywhere I Go’ is another fine track, written by Eric with his son Kelley.

The set closes with the moving title track, perhaps the best song on the album. It is a mournful reflection on family, change and the fate of small farmers, and a tribute to their late father.

This album is an excellent one from start to finish.

Grade: A+

Classic Rewind: Jessi Colter – ‘Without You’

Classic Rewind: Lorrie Morgan – ‘I’ll Take The Memories’

Classic Rewind: Don Gibson – ‘Gonna Give Myself A Party’

Album Review: Jessi Colter – ‘Ridin’ Shotgun’

Jessi’s career slowed down in the late 70s as her radio success fizzled out and she and Waylon had their first (and only) child, Shooter, in 1979. However, in 1981 she recorded a popular album of duets with Waylon (Leather and Lace). This prompted her to return to the studio on her own account, and she resumed her deal with Capitol. Waylon shared production duties with Randy Scruggs.

Although jessi’s duets with Waylon had been hits, it turned out that country rado was now really only interested in jessi as Waylon’s wife. Her solo singles were roundly ignored, with the most successful release from this album, ‘Holdin’ On’, peaking at #70. This is a nice quite upbeat song about splitting up, written by Jessi and Waylon with Basil McDavid.

McDavid is the main co-writer for the album, with another five songs credited to him and Jessi. The charming love song ‘Ain’t Making No Headlines (Here Without You)’ about coping with separation was also covered by Hank Jr, with slightly altered lyrics.

Slightly different versions of the bluesy title track bookend the album. ‘Ridin’ Shotgun (Honkin’)’ features backing vocals and harmonica and ‘Ridin’ Shotgun (Tonkin’)’. ‘Hard Times And Sno-Cone’ is a little quirky; its precise meaning is unclear but with its references to a man who ‘called her a woman but he knew she was a child’, it may possibly have been inspired by Jennifer Harness, Jessi’s teenage daughter by her first marriage to Duane Eddy. She had had a baby at just 15, who Jessi and Waylon helped to raise alongside their own son Shooter, just a year older, and married soon afterwards. The most interesting of the McDavid co-writes is the airy ‘Jennifer (Fly My Little Baby)’, to and about Jennifer. Jennifer and Waylon both guest on vocals, making this a real family affair, with Jennifer singing:

Mama don’t worry about Jennifer
Jennifer’s gonna be fine
I know it won’t be easy
Mom I’m gonna give it a try
You gave me some dreams
Now I’ve got wings and I’m headed for the sky
I have the trust in you to have the faith in me
So come on won’t you watch me fly…

Jessi and Waylon then advise:

To all you mamas and daddies
Who have a Jennifer you love so
If you wanna hold on to her
First you gotta learn to let her go

Jessi throws in a pair of very current covers: Waylon’s 1981 hit ‘Shine’, and Corbin/Hanner’s spiritual ‘On The Wings Of My Victory’, later recorded by Glen Campbell. She also takes on a much older song, the delicately pretty ‘A Fallen Star’.

‘Somewhere Along The Way’, the only solo Jessi Colter composition on this album, is a subdued ballad about regret for past choices. Co-producer Randy Scruggs contributed ‘Nobody Else But You’, a pretty love song with a lilting melody.

The album is available on a three-album/double CD with Mirriam and That’s The Way A Cowboy Rocks And Rolls.

Grade: B+

Classic Rewind: John Anderson – ‘Don’t Forget To Thank The Lord’

Classic Rewind: Jessi Colter – ‘What’s Happened To Blue Eyes?’

Classic Rewind: Loretta Lynn – ‘Woman Of The World’

Classic Rewind: Ronnie Milsap – ‘(I’d Be) A Legend In My Time’

Classic Rewind: Goldie Hill – ‘Cry Cry Darlin”

Classic Rewind: Jessi Colter – ‘I’m Not Lisa’

Classic Rewind: Jessi Colter – ‘You Hung The Moon (Didn’t You Waylon)?’

Classic Rewind: Jessi Colter ft Carter Robinson – ‘Please Carry Me Home’

The song starts 2.45 in:

Classic Rewind: Wynonna – ‘No One Else On Earth’

Classic Rewind: Charley Pride – ‘She’s Just An Old Love Turned Memory’

Classic Rewind: Jessi Colter – ‘Storms Never Last’