While doing some research, I ran across a comment that Crystal Gayle was “The Shania Twain of the seventies”. They both brought beauty and sexiness into country music, and enjoyed crossover success. That said, the comparisons stop there. Vocally, Crystal is stronger, and has had much stronger material.
And that brings us to this week’s Classic Album Review. Crystal’s We Must Believe in Magic from 1977. This is the album that helped make her a country superstar. United Artists released the album in June. The album peaked on the Billboard country album chart at number two. It also climbed into the top twenty on the pop side, and sold over a million copies.
The album begins with its only hit, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”. This was Crystal’s biggest hit, spending a month on top of the country charts and reaching the pop top ten. It’s a true classic, and one of the best songs of her career.
“I Wanna Come Back to You” is a nice song, but nothing special. The same is true about “Going Down Slow” and “Funny”. The good news is, that these are the album’s weakest songs. Though they don’t quite measure to the other tracks, they are still of decent quality.
“River Road” is a great tune. If they had released it as a single, say, as a follow-up to “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”, it could have been a hit. As it was, it didn’t get released as a single until 1980, after Crystal had left the United Artist label. Getting little promotion, the single never charted out of the sixties.
Crystal puts a touch of bluegrass on “It’s All Right with Me”. Up tempo number, featuring the work of The New Grass Revival. It is one of the best cuts on the album.
Crystal Gayle doesn’t often sing edgy or with attitude, yet, that’s what happens with “All I Wanna Do in Life”. And it turns out to be one of the album’s best songs. You might say she channeled her inner Loretta Lynn on this one.
Those alive in the 1950’s will likely remember the 1956 Jim Lowe hit, “Green Door”. Crystal’s remake rocks more than the original.
The title cut finishes the album. Crystal Gayle fans often note “We Must Believe in Magic” as one of their favorite songs, and with good reason. It’s a bit different, to be sure, but is perfect for Crystal’s vocal style.
A good album. I rate it four out of five. An excellent showcase of her vocal abilities, it’s a great sample of country music of the late seventies. It falls on the pop-country side, but includes a touch of traditional, rockabilly, even bluegrass. The Shania Twain of the seventies? Not close. This album shows Crystal Gayle’s versatility, as well as her outstanding vocal skills. I rate this one a 4 out of 5.
About Thy Author
Mike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, lover of vintage agriculture, and big sports fan, including the Colts, Reds, Hurricanes, Pacers, Purdue & Butler Universities. He has collected records since childhood, focusing on classic country and top 40 oldies music. He actually convinced Vincennes University to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting. Working for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina, currently he hosts the weekly World Famous Ultimate Twang Radio Show. You can listen Thursdays, 4-7p ET on WSFM-LPFM/AshevilleFM, at 103.3 FM in Asheville, North Carolina, and online at ashevillefm.org. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.