My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: David Malloy

Album Review: Daryle Singletary – ‘Daryle Singletary’

Daryle’s debut album in 1995 was produced by his mentor Randy Travis with James Stroud and David Malloy.

Lead single ‘I’m Living Up To Her Low Expectations’ was not a great start, barely creeping into the top 40, but deserved better. Written by Bob McDill and Tommy Rocco, it’s a cheerful honky tonker about enjoying partying after his wife leaves.

It was followed by what was to prove to be Daryle’s biggest chart success, ‘I Let Her Lie’, a ballad about a cuckolded husband desperate to believe his wife, written by Tim Johnson. Daryle’s vocal is excellent, although the keyboards now sound a bit dated.

It was back to a more light hearted party vibe for ‘Too Much Fun’ which reached #4. Written by former Mercury artist Jeff Knight with Curtis Wright. The final single was one too many, peaking at #50. ‘Workin’ It Out’ (written by Tim Johnson and Brett James) is a beautifully sung ballad with a soothing melody, pleading for a relationship to last.

Another Tim Johnson song, the up-tempo ‘Ordinary Heroes’ compares depressing international headlines with people living day to day. Randy Travis provided one song he wrote with Ron Avis and Jerry Foster. ‘There’s A Cold Spell Moving In’ is an excellent measured ballad anticipating trouble in a relationship. My Heart’s Too Broke (To Pay Attention)’ is a lively western swing number written by Phil Barnhart, Kim Williams and Lonnie Wilson, and previously cut by Mark Chesnutt. Another nice song is the mid-tempo ‘A Love That Never Died’, written by Skip Ewing and Donny Kees.

The two best tracks appear at the end of the album, and both are covers, but of songs which had not been significant hits for others. Rhonda Vincent, then a Giant labelmate, lends her harmonies to the tenderly romantic ‘Would These Arms Be In Your Way’ (a minor single for Keith Whitley, but written by Vern Gosdin with Hank Cochran and Red Lane). This is really lovely. Even better is ‘What Am I Doing There’, which had been recorded a few years earlier by George Jones. It is a gorgeous ballad about being torn between a new love and feelings for an ex. Exquisite fiddle and steel add the final touches to what could potentially have been a career song.

At 24 Daryle had not yet quite matured vocally, and although the album was received well by critics, sales were relatively modest, perhaps because the singles did not truly represent Daryle’s gifts. However, it was a promising start, and I think it is worth catching up wth.

Grade: A-

Album Review: Rosanne Cash – ‘Rhythm & Romance’

Following 1982’s Somewhere In The Stars, Rosanne Cash went on a hiatus from recording, partly fueled by drug addiction. A successful stint in rehab in 1984 yielded a sober Rosanne and her first album in nearly 3 years. Rhythm & Romance, which hit shelves in May 1985, returned Cash to the top of the country charts with two of its singles; two more would hit the top 5. The album itself became her second #1 on the country albums chart, and the lead single earned Cash her first Grammy Award, for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.  Rodney Crowell was joined in the production booth by David Malloy this time out.  As the title suggests, the songs relay the wax and wane of romantic relationships and the production sticks to a rhythmic, beat-driven dance-pop sound for most of the album.  Cash would write or co-write all but two tracks here.

The plucky and direct “I Don’t Know You Don’t Want Me”, which features Vince Gill prominently on harmony, finds the singer touting her amorous attitude and good looks before questioning the on again-off again nature of her relationship. Drum machine high in the mix, with plenty of electric piano behind it, the pure pop sound is a fitting showcase for Cash’s fade-the-last-syllable-of-each-word singing style. After hitting the top of the country singles chart, the track would win Cash her first Grammy.  The second single follows the same sound profile as the first so much that the pair become indecipherable during their first 20 seconds.  “Never Be You”, another chart-topper, isn’t as strong a lyric and without any lyrical punch, the sound becomes stale really fast.  My favorite among the singles are the confidence-laced “Hold On” and “Second To No One”. The former employs the piano more than the percussion for its melody while the latter with its laid back structure is led by vocals and a gentle acoustic guitar. Both hit #5 on the singles chart.

Cash’s songwriting is featured on this album more than any of her releases so far; she wrote the bulk of the tracks here, co-writing with Vince Gill on “Never Alone”, an I’ll-love-you-even-if-you-leave track that’s marred by its synthetic ’80s sound full of slicy electric guitars. One of the first instances of the sound the singer would later cultivate into the second phase of her career can be heard on the elegant “My Old Man”. The lyrics cast a light of realization of mortality coupled with admiration for the narrator’s weathered father, and the tinkling piano and light touch of strings gives it an air of melancholy reflection.

The sounds found on Rhythm & Romance have aged like a bowl of bananas, but the themes visited are universal and keep the best of the songs relatable. I don’t consider it a must-have in Cash’s catalog, but it is certainly ripe for cherry-picking, which is unfortunate since it hasn’t been released digitally, but was re-released as a 2-for-1 with its preceding album Somewhere In The Stars. You can buy them at amazon.

Grade: B-