My Kind of Country

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

Category Archives: Classic Rewind

Classic Rewind: Kenny Rogers and Ronnie Milsap – ‘Make No Mistake, She’s Mine’

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Classic Rewind: Chris Young covers – ‘Here’s A Quarter Call Someone Who Cares’

Classic Rewind: Kenny Rogers – ‘Coward Of The County’

Classic Rewind: Billy Walker – ‘Cross The Brazos At Waco’

Classic Rewind: Kenny Rogers – ‘You Decorated My Life’

Classic Rewind: John Conlee – ‘Backside Of Thirty’

Classic Rewind: Kenny Rogers – ‘The Gambler’

Album Review: Kenny Rogers – ‘Kenny’

Kenny followed the crossover success of ‘The Gambler’ with another self-titled album, filled with songs intended to attract the non-country audience. Indeed, listening to most of the record I was hard pressed to hear any country elements at all.

The lead single, ‘You Decorated My Life’, is a pleasant but definitely AC ballad ornamented with a heavy string arrangement. It was another big hit for Kenny, hitting #1 country, #2 Adult and #7 pop. The album’s sole nod to reasonably straight country was a return to the story songs which had been so successful for him before, in the shape of ‘Coward Of The County’. Set to the same rhythm as ‘Lucille’, the somewhat melodramatic story is of a boy who eschews violence after his criminal father dies, until his girlfriend is assaulted. It proved to be an enormous international hit, Kenny’s only #1 other than ‘Lucille’ in the UK (where for some reason ‘The Gambler’ did not chart). It’s not as good, or believable, as ‘Lucille’, but is definitely memorable and the best song on this album.

A couple of other songs are in a country-pop vein. ‘Goodbye Marie’ is a well-written song (by Mel McDaniel and Dennis Linde’ about a man planning on leaving, but with a somewhat cluttered production. It definitely had single potential, and in fact was subsequently a minor hit for Bobby Goldsboro, and Kenny’s version was eventually released as a spoiler single in 1986, after he had moved to a rival label. ‘One Man’s Woman’, written by Kenny’s keyboard player Steve Glassmeyer, is a pretty good cheating song, and is well sung by Kenny, although the strings dominate the arrangement too much for my taste.

The standard ‘Old Folks’ is not country at all, but quite nicely done with a sensitive vocal interpretation, although the keyboard sound is now very dated and there are more strings.
‘I Want To Make You Smile’ is a tender ballad written by Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers. I like this despite the overbearing strings, apart from a hideous falsetto note or two near the end.

‘Tulsa Turnaround’, which Kenny had previously recorded with The First Edition, is more of a dirty blues rocker which is well done but a bit loud and busy for me. ‘You Turn The Light On’ is very pop with a hard beat, and ‘She’s A Mystery’ is syncopated pop; while ‘Santiago Midnight Moonlight’ and the even more dreadful ‘In And Out Of Your Heart’ are outright disco.

This is not an album I can recommend to country fans.

Grade: D

Classic Rewind: Dwight Yoakam and Patty Loveless – ‘Send A Message To My Heart’

Classic Rewind: Kenny Rogers – ‘Love Or Something Like It’

Classic Rewind: Johnny Paycheck – ‘I Sleep With her Memory Every Night’

Classic Rewind: Kenny Rogers – ‘Sweet Music Man’

Classic Rewind: The Chuck Wagon Gang – ‘Echoes From The Burning Bush’

Classic Rewind: Kenny Rogers – ‘Lucille’

Classic Rewind: George Jones – ‘If I Could Put Them All Together’

Classic Rewind: Kenny Rogers – ‘Laura (What’s He Got That I Aint Got)?’

Classic Rewind: Johnny Duncan and Janie Fricke – ‘Jo And The Cowboy’

Classic Rewind: Kenny Rogers and the First Edition – ‘Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town’

Classic Rewind: Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner – ‘If Teardrops Were Pennies’

Classic Rewind: Kenny Rogers ft Dolly Parton – ‘Love Lifted Me’