My Kind of Country

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Album Review: Lorrie Morgan & Pam Tillis – ‘Come See Me and Come Lonely’

Come See Me and Come Lonely, Lorrie Morgan & Pam Tillis’ second collaborative album, is strictly a covers record with their version of twelve classic country songs ranging from the familiar to the slightly obscure. I didn’t even have an inkling this record was in the works, so count me among the pleased, and surprised when news broke about the impending release this past summer.

The album was produced by Richard Landis, who has handled the majority of Morgan’s production duties for more than 25 years. While he maintains the essence of each song, he updates the arraignments just enough to give the album a contemporary flair that allows the album to feel modern and not note-for-note recreations of the classic recordings from which these compositions are most known.

His choices result in a very good album that unfortunately begins with K.T. Oslin’s romantic ballad “Do Ya” sung as a duel-lead duet. The results are ridiculous but Tillis does bring vigor to an otherwise lifeless song. I had no idea what to expect from another seemingly random choice, Dwight Yoakam’s “Guitars, Cadillacs.” They handled the song with ease, as though it was born from a Nashville honky-tonk.

Skeeter Davis’ version of “The End of the World” has always been too schmaltzy and slightly comedic for my twenty-first-century ears. Morgan and Tillis’ interpretation is gorgeous and brings the underlying heartbreak in the lyrics to the forefront. “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” is similarly excellent and a brilliant nod to Tillis’ sound and style from the early 1990s.

The title track is brilliant and actually improves upon the version Dottie West released in 1978. I like their rendition of “Walk Right Back” and love how the emulate the Everly Brothers with their close-knit harmonies.

Morgan all but knocks Sammi Smith’s “Saunders Ferry Lane” out of the park, but I’ll always wonder how it would’ve sounded without so much age on her voice. “Rose In Paradise” is a southern gothic beauty, anchored masterfully by Tillis. My favorite track on the album is “Summer Wine,” presented as a duet with Darryl Worley and an almost unrecognizable Joe Diffie.

Tackling anything written and sung by Roy Orbison is a feat and Morgan and Tillis fall short on “It’s Over,” which just isn’t to my tastes at all. An acoustic take on “Blanket On The Ground” would’ve allowed Morgan and Tillis’ harmonies to shine, whereas the version they gave us drowns them out with obtrusive clutter.

Come See Me and Come Lonely isn’t a perfect album but there are some stunning performances throughout. Morgan and Tillis are on top of their artistic game even if the arrangements are too loud on occasion. I highly recommend checking this one out.

Grade: A- 

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Album Review: Lorrie Morgan – ‘Letting Go … Slow’

51bUlVvWr7LI’ve been a fan of Lorrie Morgan ever since I first saw her video of “Trainwreck of Emotion” on TNN back in 1988. I’ve followed her career ever since, though admittedly not quite as closely since her days as a major label artist ended about 15 years ago. I’ve always felt that the true artists are the ones who continue to make music after they’ve peaked commercially. Morgan certainly falls into that category; she released three solo albums and one collaboration with Pam Tillis in the years since her tenure with BNA Records ended. But post- commercial peak projects are often a mixed bag, particularly for artists who don’t write a lot of their own material. Finding good songs is frequently a challenge – and then there is the added problem of declining vocal power, which often plagues aging artists.

Fortunately, Morgan has overcome both of those obstacles on her latest collection Letting Go … Slow, which was released by Shanachie Entertainment last week. In an interview with Country Universe she said that she spent a considerable amount of time working to get her voice back in shape. The effort has paid off in spades; she sounds better on Letting Go … Slow than she has in years. And although she relies heavily on cover material to compile an album’s worth of songs, she’s managed to dig a little deeper and come up with some gems that are deserving of another listen but have been largely overlooked by the plethora of artists releasing covers albums in recent years. Read more of this post

Album Review: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – ‘Let’s Go’

0215albums247The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band returned to their country roots in 1982, around the time the band started using their full name again. They had a lineup change as well, with former member Jimmy Ibbotson joining Jeff Hanna, Jimmie McFadden, and John McEuen for the sessions taking place in Nashville. With Norbert Putnam and Richard Landis producing, Let’s Go was released on Liberty Records in 1983.

The album, which peaked at #26, had two successful singles. “Shot Full of Love,” written by Bob McDill reached #19. While not overwhelmingly country, the track worked in the Urban Cowboy era of smooth country-pop and was nicely driven by the band’s excellent harmonies.

Ibbotson wrote “Dance Little Jean,” an excellent mid-tempo acoustic guitar driven number in hopes it would convince his ex-wife they should reconcile. The plan backfired although she’s reported to say he could afford to pay child support (the Jean of the song referred to the couple’s daughter), as the track would be a hit. Her prediction was correct and the song rose to #9.

The remainder of the album was peppered with tracks penned by notable songwriters. Rodney Crowell wrote “Never Together (But Close Sometimes),” a Caribbean flavored number accentuated with steel drums and an island beat that are horribly dated today. Pop singer-songwriter Andrew Gold contributed “Heartaches In Heartaches,” an excellent mid-tempo number notable for a rocklin’ beat. Dave Loggins composed “Goodbye Eyes,” a tender soft-rock ballad that would’ve been a perfect crossover hit had it been a single. And finally, Marshall Crenshaw inscribed “Maryann,” a synth-heavy ballad with a fuller arrangement than most of the tracks, but still perfectly Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Hanna co-wrote “Special Look,” a very good synth drenched number with Bob Carpenter. He and Fadden collaborated on the title track, a number that wouldn’t have been out of place in Alabama’s catalog at the time. “Don’t Get Sand In It,” isn’t country at all, but from a pop/rock perspective, it’s still good. “Too Many Heartaches in Paradise” leans more into country music from the era and would’ve been a good choice as a single.

As a whole, Let’s Go isn’t a country album and to categorize it as indicative of the Urban Cowboy era is a stretch. But the band is in fine form throughout, with clean arrangements and harmonies that may be dated today, but are still very listenable.

Grade: B+

Album Review – Lorrie Morgan – ‘Show Me How’

220px-ShowMeHowOnce Lorrie Morgan parted ways with BNA Records in 2002, she was free to begin the independent label phase of her career, one that would spawn a few albums to date, but little success at radio or retail. Her first such release, Show Me How, was released in January 2004 on Image Entertainment.

The album, her first solo project of all new material in five years, reteamed her with her longtime producer Richard Landis, whom she hadn’t worked with on an album of new songs since War Paint ten years earlier. There were three singles released, with only the lead charting.

“Do You Still Want to Buy Me That Drink (Frank),” a silly yet somewhat engaging tale of a woman picking up a guy in a bar, hit #50. The piano ballad “I Can Count On You” was much better, although a bit dated by 2004 standards. Final single “Us Girls” is a pop mess and pure dreck.

Show Me How as a whole is a mixed bag, an uncharacteristic misstep from a singer who was known for her consistent quality in the previous decade. I can appreciate the production on “Bombshell,” but the lyrics about an aging beauty try and fail to be age appropriate for someone in her mid-40s. The title track may work for a newcomer who doesn’t care about their material, but the pop production and Morgan’s breathy vocal don’t do her any justice. Her vocal on “One Less Monkey” is better, but the faux-R&B beats and backup singers are awful. “Rocks” is too progressive for my taste.

Thankfully the album picks up with some of the ballads. “Used” is a wonderful reflection on life that Morgan sings from experience:

 Maybe I lost my way

Maybe I made mistakes

Who cares, I coulda quit but I didn’t

Maybe I loved too much

Maybe I’ve lost too much

I’m used… But then, who isn’t?

I also like “The Wedding,” which has a nice lyric and simple country arrangement to frame Morgan’s voice. Same goes for “Charlie and Betty,” the only number on which Morgan has a writing credit. A beautiful “Livin’ On Love” type story song, it tells the tale of a couple’s love affair set to a beautiful dobro and mandolin laced production that nicely compliments Morgan’s conversational vocal. “Charlie and Betty” is easily the best track on the album by a long shot. Also good is “Another Winter Without You,” a touching ballad of lost love that brings in the record’s only audible dose of steel guitar. The piano flourishes are a bit heavy, but Morgan gives a nicely confident vocal throughout.

All and all Show Me How is a mixed bag musically that does little more than give Morgan a vast playground of unexpected beats and sounds from which to play, all of which she tries on for size, but they don’t fit. It’s a shame she couldn’t have used this opportunity to make a career record and not play it so safe. A part from “Charlie and Betty” none of these songs are essential listening or worth seeking out unless you are the type of fan that must own all of her albums.

Grade: C+

Album Review: Lorrie Morgan – ‘War Paint’

warpaintBy 1994, with three platinum albums and ten Top 10 singles (including two #1s) under her belt, Lorrie Morgan appeared to be at her commercial peak when her career unexpectedly lost some of its momentum. War Paint produced three singles, all of which tanked at country radio at a time when Morgan was pretty much an automatic add at most stations. The first single, the rock-tinged “My Night To Howl”, which finds Lorrie preparing for a night on the town, is admittedly not one of her best and its #31 peak seems justified, but the failure of the follow-up single was rather surprising. She finally tackled the subject of Keith Whitley’s death head-on with deeply personal and soul-baring “If You Came Back From Heaven”, which she co-wrote with producer Richard Landis. It’s the song that many fans had expected from her immediately after Whitley’s passing, but when it finally arrived, it was met with a huge ho-hum from radio. Peaking at #51, it was her worst-performing single since her breakthrough. Country radio’s lack of interest was perhaps a result of how much the country music landscape had changed in the five years since Whitley’s death. The catchy, uptempo and pop-tinged “Heart Over Mind” seemed like a safe radio-friendly choice for a third single but it too failed gain a foothold at radio, and only reached #39.

After three misfires, BNA declined to release any further singles from the album, although there were a few worthy potential candidates, including “The Hard Part Was Easy” and “Exit 99”, which is one of my all-time favorite songs from Lorrie. Foreshadowing Sara Evans’ “Three Chords And The Truth”, which would be released three years later, the tune finds Morgan hopping into her car and driving off after a fight with her husband. The further she drives, the more her anger subsides and by the time she reaches Exit 99 near the end of the song, she’s reconsidered and ready to turn around and go home. “Exit 99” was omitted from the cassette version of the album, as BMG was still engaging in its practice of including extra tracks on the CD versions of its releases, to entice buyers to purchase the more expensive format.

Lorrie has covered classic country songs on many of her albums, and on War Paint she takes on two revered numbers: “A Good Year For the Roses”, which George Jones had taken to #2 in 1970, and the Hank Cochran-penned “Don’t Touch Me”, which was a #2 hit for Cochran’s then-wife Jeannie Seely in 1966. “A Good Year For The Roses” pairs Lorrie up for the first time on record with Sammy Kershaw, who she would eventually marry. Both songs are well-performed, particularly “Don’t Touch Me”, but neither was commercial enough in the mid-1990s to be considered for single release.

Despite containing many gems, War Paint is not without its missteps. I’m not particularly fond of the lead single “My Night To Howl” or the somewhat overproduced and lyrically unsubtle title track that Lorrie co-wrote with Tom Shapiro. Likewise, I could have done without the dull Angela Kaset number “Evening Up The Odds”, which serves as the album’s closing track. None of these songs is truly terrible, but their inclusion make this album a more uneven listening experience than Morgan’s earlier work.

Even though it failed to produce any hit singles, War Paint sold respectably and earned gold certification, suggesting that Lorrie had a fan base that would remain loyal to her even if radio was beginning to cool towards her. Although she did enjoy a few more big hits on subsequent albums, her performance on the singles chart became inconsistent from this point on.

Despite its flaws, there are enough solid tracks on War Paint to recommend it. Although it is out of print, inexpensive used copies are easy to find.

Grade: B+

Album Review: Lorrie Morgan – ‘Watch Me’

watchmeLorrie Morgan’s third release teamed her up once again with Something In Red producer Richard Landis, but 1992’s Watch Me is a less pop-oriented collection that sounds like a less ballad-heavy continuation of 1989’s Leave The Light On. The uptempo title track “Watch Me” was the first single sent to radio. More radio-friendly than “Something In Red”, the single that had preceded it, “Watch Me” delivered a “Five Minutes”-style ultimatum to an errant lover and stopped just short of becoming Morgan’s second chart-topper, peaking #2. She closed the deal, however, with another uptempo number, “What Part of No”, which found her giving the brush-off to an unwanted suitor. Spending three weeks at #1, it became the most successful single of her career and is one of her best remembered hits today.

The album’s third single and one of my all-time favorites was the ballad “I Guess You Had To Be There”, which had Lorrie once again confronting a cheating spouse, albeit less assertively than the album’s title track. As the song opens, she greets her husband upon his return from work and proceeds to tell him about her day — how on her travels she’d seen a happy couple in love and the impression it had made upon her. Her spouse’s lack of response prompts her to say, “I guess you had to be there”. The listener learns in the final verse that he was indeed there, and was one half of the happy couple spotted in a cafe. Kris Kristofferson portrayed the philandering husband in the song’s video. Surprisingly, it only reached #14. Lorrie returned to the Top 10 with her next single, the more lightweight and catchy midtempo “Half Enough”, which rose to #8.

The always reliable Skip Ewing had provided “Autumn’s Not That Cold”, one of the best cuts from Something In Red, and he made another contribution this time around, the excellent “You Leave Me Like This”. Likewise, “Something In Red” writer Angela Kaset contributed “From Our House To Yours”, a ballad about a lifelong friendship, that is just a little too sing-songy to truly work well. Much better is Lorrie’s surprisingly good cover of “It’s A Heartache”, a song that had first been introduced by Juice Newton in 1977 and covered by Bonnie Tyler who had a huge international pop hit with it that same year. Morgan’s version is better than both of them, and it probably would have had hit single potential had it not already been so well known and closely associated with Tyler.

Watch Me didn’t chart as high as Lorrie’s previous albums, reaching only #15 but it sold well enough to earn platinum certification. It re-established her country credentials after some of the pop experimentation of Something In Red. It was also her first album for BNA Records, a former indie label that had been acquired by BMG Music earlier that year to be a sister label to RCA. Lorrie was at that time the imprint’s biggest and best-selling star, though she would eventually be eclipsed by labelmates Kenny Chesney, Lonestar, and John Anderson.

Twenty years after its release, “What Part Of No” is possibly the only song from Watch Me that is familiar to many younger listeners, but if those fans are inclined to delve a little deeper into Lorrie’s catalog will find much to like in this collection.

Grade: A-

Album Review – Lorrie Morgan – ‘Something In Red’

LorrieMorganSomethinginRedLorrie Morgan’s sophomore album was a pivotal moment in not just her career but for country music in general. Released in April 1991 it was Morgan’s first set of newly recorded music since the sudden death of her husband Keith Whitley not even two years prior. She also tapped pop singer/songwriter Richard Landis to produce, a move that saw Morgan somewhat distancing herself from the hardcore traditionalism of her debut.

But it’s the tone of Something In Red that was a bit hard to swallow. Morgan barely references Whitley’s passing choosing instead to record songs with peppier production, and even going full-on Adult Contemporary on the title track. She had also moved on from Whitley pretty quickly – to third husband Brad Thompson, whom she would divorce in 1993.

Thankfully, Morgan managed to record some wonderful songs on the ten-track album. Tom Shapiro and Chris Waters wrote “We Both Walk,” a twangy guitar soaked number that hit #4. A cover of George Jones’ “A Picture Of Me (Without You)” would hit #8 and the jaunty “Except for Monday” also peaked at #4. All three are top-notch, three of my all-time favorite of her recordings, and helped to establish Morgan as a fine torch singer.

The title track was the final single. Morgan initially hated Angela Kaset’s lyric so much, she refused to listen to the song all the way through assuming that the woman ended up wearing black. RCA relented and the track is now considered Morgan’s signature tune, despite it peaking at #14. I’ve always loved the song, even if it was the least country sounding single Morgan had released to date.

Something In Red opens with string ballad “Autumn’s Not That Cold,” a effectively sung number about a woman who isn’t terribly lonely over the loss of her man. She goes into full retro mode with “Tears On My Pillow,” in which a woman runs into an ex who’s done her wrong. “In Tears” is another similar number, with Morgan in pain over a broken relationship that hasn’t yet healed. None of these ballads are particularly country which is odd, but Morgan is able to show off her best asset – her voice.

“Hand Over Your Heart” is a much better song, with a nice upbeat production, but it also seems ripped from a 1950s/1960s pop album. When looking at this record for review, I was surprised to see a cover of Journey’s “Faithfully,” a song I practically enjoy, I just didn’t expect it on a country album during what was still the outer fringes of the new traditionalist movement. Morgan sticks close to Journey’s original, opting to bring little imagination to the song. But she makes it work for her voice, singing it with beauty and conviction.

The best non-single on the project is “Best Woman Wins,” a duet with Dolly Parton that also appeared on her Eagle When She Flies Album. Written by Parton, it’s a lighter “Does He Love You” in which two women are in love with the same man, and he must choose between them. The production is a bit too sunny for me, and the mood a little too sing-song-y, but it works for what it is.

There’s no point in beating around the bush. Something In Red is a strange, strange album. Morgan jumps from a stunning cover of a George Jones classic to a Journey remake all in the midst of ten songs that bare very little resemblance to country music at all. And critics gave her credit for shedding her ‘I’m Keith Whitley’s widow’ image, but she moved on so fast it’s as if she never loved him at all. I understand ditching sad songs, but this is insensitive. She should’ve honored him here somewhere, somehow (an “If You Came Back From Heaven” moment should’ve been on this disc, not saved for 1994’s War Paint).

Morgan proves she’s in fine voice throughout and her instrument is on full effect. But Something In Red should’ve been so much more. For My Broken Heart this is not.

Grade: C+ 

Album Review – Sammy Kershaw – ‘I Want My Money Back’

By the mid-2000s Sammy Kershaw had severed ties his with Mercury Nashville, a partnership that concluded with the release of Greatest Hits, Chapter 2 in 2001. Now recording for Audium/Koch, Kershaw released I Want My Money Back in 2003 under the direction of Richard Landis.

The two singles begin a problem that penetrates the album. I Want My Money Back attempts to position Kershaw as a pop-country singer, thus stripping him of any resemblance to the man who recorded “Yard Sale” and “Matches.” The title track, which reached #33, is an atrocious tale of a man wanting to return the memories of a horrible date laid out with clichéd lyrics and a generic melody. Not much better was the second single, “I’ve Never Been Anywhere,” something similar to a country-rap that’s suffers from being too progressive.

Elsewhere Kershaw misses the mark completely adding a drum machine and echoing effect to the horrible “Miss What’s Her Name.” I will admit I enjoy the beat of the song, but I can’t wrap my head around the idea that this is Sammy Kershaw singing this. Same goes for both “Sunday on Bourbon Street” and “Are You Having Fun Yet.” The former, complete with its upbeat piano is too cheeky to be taken seriously, while the latter is too loud and comes off kind of desperate.

Kershaw tries to rebound towards the middle of the album, showcasing attempts at recreating his former glory. Unfortunately, I can’t help but feel the results are below his best efforts. “Stitches” is an okay neo-traditional story song but nothing close to the caliber of material from his heyday, “Beer, Bait, and Ammo” lays the steel and fiddles on so thick it almost feels like parody, and “28/83 (She Ain’t In It For The Love)” starts out like classic Alan Jackson but only manages to muster up an unintelligent and rather idiotic tale about a gold digger framed with more cheese then Brad Paisley at his least inspired.

There’s no point dancing around the fact that I Want My Money Back is a very appropriately named and terribly constructed mess. There isn’t an outstanding let alone good or great song to be found here, but worse, Kershaw sounds like he’s in the throws of an identity crisis. Listening to this, Kershaw’s Emotional Traffic and Incredible Machine, you’d never know he could ever be compared to George Jones let alone rip your heart out with a killer honky-tonk heartbreaker.

I’ll recommend listening to it (the album is on Spotify) simply on the fact you should form your own opinion. But I’ll guarantee you you’ll wish you had the time back you spent listening to it.

Grade: D 

Album Review: Rhonda Vincent – ‘Trouble Free’

Rhonda’s second Giant album took broadly the same approach as its predecessor. Producers James Stroud and Richard Landis provide sympathetic backings for Rhonda’s sparkling vocals. Sadly, however, country radio had begun its move in a poppier direction following the crossover success of Shania Twain, and Rhonda’s music was just a little too traditional for the time.

‘What More Do You Want From Me?’ (written by Bob Regan and Mark D. Sanders) was the only single, and it failed to gain enough airplay to chart. That was a shame, because it’s an excellent up-tempo song with some attitude and banked harmonies as Rhonda bemoans her lot to the personification of Love.

The opening ‘Somebody’, written by Al Anderson and Robert Ellis Orrall, sounds as though it was recorded with an eye on chart potential. It is well sung but feels a bit generic (despite Alison Krauss’s harmony), and is the only disappointing moment. Another song written by Orrall, this time with Curtis Wright and Billy Spencer, the wistful lost-love ‘If I Could Stop Loving You’, is better.

‘It Ain’t Nothin’ New’ is a lovely duet with Randy Travis, written by Larry Cordle, Larry Shell and Betty Keys. Randy’s voice is at its best, and the pair’s voices meld extremely well, while the song is a sweet look at the hard work developing a relationship and keeping it alive once the shine has worn off a little, and affirming their love. It is one of my favorite tracks, with some beautiful fiddle. The love song ‘You Beat All I’ve Ever Seen’ was written by the winning combination of hitmaking songwriter Kostas, veteran Melba Montgomery, and Kathy Louvin (daughter of Ira). It has a pretty melody and a sweet and sincerely delivered lyric.

Melba Montgomery wrote ‘An Old Memory (Found Its Way Back Home Again)’ with Jerry Salley. This is a delightful up-tempo number with Rhonda wryly facing the revival of feelings she thought she had left behind, with an unexpectedly cheerful feel as she attacks the lyric, comparing her ex’s memory to
an old dog that you drop off just outside of town, uninvited, comin’ back anyhow.

The vibrant up-tempo title track was written by Carl Jackson and Jerry Salley, and is also highly enjoyable. Rhonda triumphantly denies that her ex’s departure has caused her any sleepless nights. The sunny ‘The Blues Ain’t Workin’ On Me’ was written by George Teren and Tom Shapiro, and features a cameo from Dolly Parton on harmony.

‘When I’m Through Fallin’ Apart’ written by Michael Huffman, Gene Dobbins and Bob Morrison, is another good song, with Rhonda deferring a promising new prospect for new romance until she has got over the last one.

The John Jarrard/Kenny Beard-penned ballad ‘At The Corner Of Walk And Don’t Walk’ has a lovely traditional feel and tune with some atmospheric steel guitar underpinning the melancholic mood, although the metaphor feels a little forced. The underlying story, with the protagonist calling from a payphone as she has second thoughts about leaving, and uncertain whether her future lies with or without her lover, is still good, and Rhonda’s vocal is excellent, making this another favourite of mine.

The album was no more successful than its predecessor, and it marked the end of Rhonda’s flirtation with mainstream country music. It is however, a very fine album which has a lot to appeal to country fans.

Grade: A

Album Review: Vince Gill – ‘The Way Back Home’

Vince’s third and last release for RCA (in 1987) was almost a full length album, with nine tracks. Produced by Richard Landis and recorded in LA, with West Coast country-rock musicians like Jay Dee Maness on steel, and an all-star cast of backing singers including Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, and Vince’s wife Janis and her sister Kristine Arnold (who as the Sweethearts of the Rodeo were rising stars at the time). Unfortunately, too many are used together, with an almost choir effect on some tracks which is not suited to the material, most of which Vince wrote or co-wrote.

One exception was the first single and biggest hit from the album, peaking at #5 on Billboard. The sympathetic look at a modern day ‘Cinderella’ who the protagonist might just take away from her neglectful husband, was written by Reed Nielsen. While it is catchy and likeable, it is largely forgotten today, and lacks the weight of Vince’s classics.

The perky ‘Let’s Do Something’ did rather less well at #16; it is quite enjoyable but a bit too much is going on in the production. The playfully up-tempo ‘Everybody’s Sweetheart’ just missed the top 10, peaking at #11. It complains, just a little tongue in cheek when he says he should keep her “barefoot and pregnant all the time”, in order to keep at home a wife the protagonist never sees thanks to her pursuit of stardom. It appears to have been partly inspired by Vince’s relationship with Janis.

‘The Radio’ is a classsic lonesome Vince Gill ballad with lovely soaring vocals. It only just scraped into the top 40, almost certainly because with Vince halfway out of the door, the label was disinclined to promote it. It is much better than that peak would imply. Also very good, although perhaps a little sentimental for some tastes, the beautifully sung title track reflects on the tragedy of missing children. Emmylou Harris’ distinctive harmony is haunting, although the choir effect of massed backing vocals on the chorus is a bit too much; they should have kept it stripped down with just Emmylou supporting Vince.

There is a certain amount of filler, including ‘Baby, That’s Tough’, a rather underwhelming co-write with Texas songwriting great Guy Clark. ‘Losing Your Love’ is a pleasant ballad with an attractive melody, written with Hank DeVito and Rhonda Kye Fleming, while ‘Something Missing’, written by Vince with Michael Clark, is boring. ‘It Doesn’t Matter Any More’ is a cover of an old Paul Anka pop song.

This was a step in the right direction. The next, and a defining one, was Vince’s move to MCA, where Tony Brown took over production duties. This resulted in his first masterpiece, When I Call Your Name, which I reviewed back in 2009 as part of our look back at the Class of ’89: https://mykindofcountry.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/class-of-89-album-review-vince-gill-when-i-call-your-name/

Used copies of the CD are available very cheaply.

Grade: B+