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.