July 27, 2009
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After a couple faltered albums on the Warner Brothers label, where John Anderson scored his biggest successes in the 1980s with hits like ‘Swingin’ and ‘Black Sheep’, the singer moved to MCA. He recorded two albums under the guise of label-head Jimmy Bowen. (Read Occasional Hope’s review of his first MCA release here.) In 1991, he signed with BNA Records, working with producer James Stroud. His first release for the label would turn out to be his most prolific in terms of sales, radio success, and artistry. Seminole Wind would spawn 4 top 10 singles and go on to be certified double platinum for sales of over 2 million. It remains John Anderson’s best-selling album to date.
The album opens with the chugging ‘Who Got Our Love’, which served as the lead single. Though the song stalled at a disappointing #67 on the singles chart, Seminole Wind was just getting started putting John Anderson back on top of the country charts. The second single was the now-barroom classic, ‘Straight Tequila Night’, a song about a woman whose memories all come back when she drinks tequila. Luckily, on this night, she’s ‘only sipping white wine’ and the narrator thinks he might have a chance of winning her heart. The tune shot to the top in March of 1992 and signalled that John Anderson was back in a big way. Featuring twin fiddles and a chorus that you just have to sing along to, it’s still a very popular recurrent on country radio today.
Following the mega success of ‘Tequila’, BNA released ‘When It Comes To You’ as the next single. The bluesy tune has a swampy Louisiana feel and Anderson wraps his warm vocals around the lyric like a wisteria vine in a perfect marriage of lyric and interpretation. It would go on to the #3 perch of the chart. The song’s writer, Mark Knopfler, had originally recorded it with his band Dire Straits for their On Every Street album.
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July 17, 2009
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After his wildly successful Wild and Blue album, propelled by the smash crossover hit, ‘Swingin’, John Anderson’s next album featured much of the same formula as the previous release. So while there are still plenty of stone-country moments here, we also find John branching out into the rock and roll sound that he embraced for the rest of the 1980s. All The People Are Talkin’ was released in September 1983 and reached the #9 spot on the albums chart as the lead single was climbing the singles charts. ‘Black Sheep’ would reach the top in December of that year and the follow-up single would also reach the top 10 in early 1984.
Danny Darst and Robert Altman penned the growling rocker, ‘Black Sheep’. This clever tune tells the tale of a truck driver who, in his family’s eyes doesn’t measure up to his professional siblings. Though his parents don’t seem to understand, he’s just as happy in his own element as they are in their ivory tower lifestyle: ‘Yeah I drive me a big ol’ semi truck I’m makin’ payments on a two room shack/My wife she waits on tables and at night she rubs my back’. It’s a very relatable song. The message of living your life on your own terms, even though it doesn’t meet your family’s expectations, is very universal.
Another grooving track was released to radio with ‘Let Somebody Else Drive’, and crested at #10. Merle Kilgore and Mack Vickery wrote the song, which was adopted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving as an anthem for the group. Though the song’s message is anti-drunk-driving, it’s a rocking tune in zydeco fashion complete with horns and strings.
The album opens with the title track, an uptempo ditty written by Fred Carter Jr. In this tune, driven by some snazzy sax, the narrator’s friends are all telling him the things his lady has been up to, but he chooses not to believe them. Love is blind and blindness is bliss. Twin fiddles kick off ‘Blue Lights and Bubbles’, one of my favorite songs on the album. A twist on the old ‘get out to a smoky, neon-lit bar to get over you’ tune, you can almost hear the beer caps popping off as it plays.
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