My Kind of Country

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

Tag Archives: Jennifer McCarter and the McCarters

Album Review: Jennifer McCarter and the McCarters – ‘Better Be Home Soon’

Although the McCarters’ debut album had brought them some success, with top 10 hits, Warner Brothers thought they would do better if they modernised their sound a bit. They also decided that since Jennifer was very clearly the star of the group, she should get higher billing, and renamed the group Jennifer McCarter and the McCarters.

The first single from their second album Better Be Home Soon, produced by Paul Worley and Ed Seay, was ‘Up And Gone’, a sprightly up-tempo tune which was their third and last top 10 hit, peaking at #9. It was written by Verlon Thompson and Bill Caswell. The same writing team provided the next single, ‘Quit While I’m Behind’, which reached #26. It is another entertaining song, about deciding to dump a rubbish boyfriend who is cheating on her. ‘Betcha Gonna Love Me’, written by Caswell with Don Singleton, is in similar vein musically.

The title track is a ballad which, oddly, is a cover of a song by Australian rock band Crowded House. Jennifer’s vocal is lovely, but radio was not receptive when it was released as the third single.

Also a flop was the last single, ‘Shot Full Of Love’. This song, written by Bob McDill, was recorded numerous times by artists including Don Williams, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Juice Newton, Nicolette Larson, Chris LeDoux and Billy Ray Cyrus, but has never been a hit. It is about a player with a past who is transformed by discovering true love, and perhaps worked a bit better for a male artist, but is beautifully sung here:

Once I had a heart cold as ice
Love to me was only for fun
I made the mark for each broken heart
Like notches on the butt of a gun

Once I had a trick up my sleeve
And a reputation all over town
I was heartless and cold wherever I go
And I shut down every young boy I found

Yes, I used to be a moonlight bandit
I used to be a heartbreak kid
Then I met you and the next thing I knew
There I was
Oh, shot full of love

Who’d have thought that someone like you
Could take a desperado like me
But oh, here I am
I’m as meek as a lamb
With my bleeding heart there at your feet

Sandy Emory’s song ‘I Haven’t Got A Prayer’ is a beautiful ballad with some pretty mandolin. ‘Mountain Memories’ is a charming throwback to the sounds of their first album.

‘Papa Sita’ is a sweet Mexican-flavored song written by Hugh Moffatt.

‘Slow Country Dance’ is a gorgeous waltz written by Mary Chapin Carpenter, who also recorded it:

Down at the bar a woman tells stories
Batting her eyes to someone not there
Her glass is half full (or maybe half empty)
Like the jokes told about her
When they think she don’t hear
Now the perfume is cheap and the makeup is careless
And the dress out of fashion for a woman her age
But she don’t give a damn for those who would cherish
A much lighter step or a much younger face

And love’s never easy or ever as true
When the changing of partners is no longer new
You lead with your heart, closing your eyes
And dance just to dance in three quarter time

The closing ‘I Don’t Wanna Cry Anymore’ is a great upbeat song written by Nancy Montgomery offering hope for the future.

This is not as good an album as the sisters’ debt, but it is still very good, and I would recommend it.

Grade: A

Spotlight Artists: The Forester Sisters and The McCarters

This month we are spotlighting two groups comprising sisters who both started out in the 1980s on Warner Brothers Records.

There were four of the Forester Sisters: Kathy, June, Kim and Christy. They grew up in the small town of Lookout Mountain in Georgia, close to the Tennessee border, and starting singing in their church choir. Kathy and June trained as teachers in the 1970s and sang together in a band. They were joined by Kim, and eventually Christy after her graduation from college. They signed a deal with Warner Brothers in 1984 and enjoyed immediate success with their sweet harmonies, pretty melodies, and mellow sound which had appeal to the pop-country fans of the mid 80s while incorporating some more organic elements. A string of top 10 hits ensued between 1985 and 1991, and they also released some religious material.

All four women were capable of singing lead on occasion, but Kathy had the best voice, followed by Kim, and they got the lion’s share of lead vocals and all the singles.
They are now retired from music.

The McCarters were younger, but their music was much more traditional. Hailing from Dolly Parton’s hometown, Sevierville, Tennessee, they comprised lead singer Jennifer (born in 1964) and her younger sisters Lisa and Teresa (born in 1966), who were twins. Their mountain harmonies were exquisite, but proved to be a bit too traditional even in the neotraditional revival of the late 80s and with the boost provided by opening for Randy Travis on tour. their early singles were reasonably successful, but the label pushed to modernise their sound a little, and rebilled them as Jennifer McCarter and the McCarters for their second single.

They stopped performing for some years after losing their Warner Brothers’ deal, but after raising their own families, Jennifer returned to music without her sisters. In 2017 she released an album as part of a new trio, Them Rubies, with Donna Beasley and Etta Britt, and she has a brand new solo single, ‘Love Will’.