The singles from Wishes would prove to be the peak of Lari White’s popularity. The followup album, Don’t Fence Me In, which saw her stretch her wings artistically, was less successful in the marketplace.
The first single, ‘Ready, Willing And Able’, is quite a good mid-tempo song about being open to falling in love, which Lari delivers with commitment. It was written by Jess Leary and Jody Alan Sweet, and reached the top 20.
The only other single, the vivacious up-tempo ‘Wild At Heart’, failed to make the top 40, and combined with unspectacular sales of the album led to RCA dropping Lari. Lari wrote it with Al Anderson, and it’s pretty good and well performed.
‘Ain’t Gonna Worry About Love No More’ (written by Michael Noble) is in a similar contemporary up-tempo vein.
Lari wrote three songs with her husband Chuck Cannon. The best of these, ‘Something Blue’, is a bluesy torch song about a marriage in the course of disintegrating:
Our love is something old
Her kiss is something new
And now we live on borrowed time
Cause all that’s left is something blue
The upbeat poppy ‘Do It Again’ affirms the narrator’s past choices and mistakes. ‘Next To Love’ is fairly forgettable filler.
‘Ghost Of A Chance’, written by Lari with Chuck Jones, is a low key soulful ballad about fighting the unseen rival of her partner’s ex, with some nice fiddle. This is excellent, and my favourite track.
I also like another ballad, ’The Test’ (written by Don Schlitz and Billy Livsey), although it feels a little bit contrived. A married woman reviews the strength of her relationship on paper, listing all the fights and bad times, which makes her think it must be over – but set against that she has just one positive: she loves him.
‘I’ve Been Waiting For Your Love’ is a pretty AC-leaning ballad written by Stephony Smith and Terry Burns, with some nice fiddle. ‘Woman Of The World’ is an upbeat song about women as survivors.
Rather pretentiously, two tracks have short teasers earlier in the set list. The title track is the Cole Porter-penned standard. Right at the start of the album Lari sings the first chorus fairly straight, with harmony singers Trisha Yearwood and SShelby Lynne, but with old dusty vinyl sound effects. Then almost at the end of the album she launches into a speeded up rockabilly take on the song. It doesn’t really work for me.
Similarly, ‘Soul Searchin’ Blues’ starts out randomly inserted three quarters of the way through with one verse, and then continues right at the end. This is a straight blues tune.
The record is not particularly country, and certainly not traditional, but Lari White was a very talented singer and songwriter, and if you like a slightly poppy/jazzy/AC edge to your country, this album is well worth while.
Although Lari would enjoy one more top 20 hit with ‘Stepping Stone’ on a new label, Lyric Street , and then a top 20 duet with Travis Tritt, that was the end of her mainsteam success.