Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always found on the turntable. Today, we look at the 1973 Jerry Wallace album Do You Know What It’s Like To Be Lonesome. You might remember Jerry for his Pop successes in the 1950’s and 1960’s, with songs such as “How The Time Flies”, “Primrose Lane”, and “In The Misty Moonlight”. Later, he turned his attention to Country music. There he enjoyed success with four top ten hits, most notably the number one hit, “If You Leave Me Tonight, I’ll Cry”.
From an album standpoint, Jerry made the Country top ten four times. Today’s album was one of the four, peaking at six on Billboard. The title cut, and the double-sided release “Sound Of Goodbye” b/w “The Song That Nobody Sings” are the singles. An interesting side note, at the beginning of 1973, the MCA name replaced Decca. The album was released on MCA. The title cut was released on the Decca label, while the second single would have the MCA designation. Also worth noting that Bill Justis of “Raunchy” fame arranged and conducted the album.
The title cut, “Do You Know What It’s Like To Be Lonesome”, opens things. The ballad nearly became Jerry’s second number one hit, peaking at two. Standard Country fare for the era, but still, a great composition with a fine vocals.
“Sound Of Goodbye” was one-side of the second single from the album, peaking just outside the Country 20 in 1973. A ballad, with a similar arrangement to the title cut. Not a bad track.
Songwriting legend Cindy Walker provided the next track. “The Love Song Of The Year”, which continues the laid-back, mellow sounds heard on the first two tracks. Again, an enjoyable piece. You’ll find nothing to complain about with Jerry Wallace’s vocals. They are in exceptional form, here.
“Until You” is yet another smooth ballad, this time a duet with a lady named Jean Chapel, who also co-wrote the song. Jean’s career as a singer never really took off, despite making several records. She did enjoy considerable success as a songwriter. For example, Jerry Wallace’s hit “To Get To You”, as well as the Eddy Arnold hit “Lonely Again”. Her rather deep voice, here, is in fine fords extremely well with Jerry’s voice on a well written song.
“A Standing Ovation” is a nice track, but doesn’t stands out. It wraps the first side.
That mellowness continues into side two with the track “Hot Line”. No, it’s not the same song that later became Pop hit for The Sylvers. This one also comes from the legendary pen of Cindy Walker. Like most of the album, a good track.
“The Song That Nobody Sings” was the other side of the double-sided single. A bit different from the other tracks, the tempo is a tad quicker. The arrangement has a bit of a Tex-Mex feel to it. It works well with this Western-feeling composition. My favorite track on the album.
“Even The Bad Times Are Good” is a song that Jerry had recorded a couple of times before. An excellent ballad; one has to wonder why the original didn’t do any better than a seventy peak on the charts.
“Where Did He Come From?” is another song in the Western vein. It’s the story of a gunfighter named Hec Ramsey and his trying to adjust to a changing lifestyle. I like this track, but the song feels like it’s missing something to the story. It needs another verse or two to tell a more complete tale.
The album wraps with “The Greatest Feeling”, which has the quickest tempo on the disc. But still pretty mellow. I like the melody, here, it flows from note to note. It is an example where the smoother, slicker arrangement works to the benefit of the track.
Overall, this is an interesting album to listen to. The steady, slow, mellow sound can get monotonous. But Jerry’s warm, engaging vocals are great. You wonder how he didn’t have more hits than he did. Plus, the songs, as I mentioned, are all similar in quality, in that good to very good range.
As always, you’re thoughts, comments, and opinions are welcome, below.
ABOUT THE 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, and focuses on classic country and top 40 oldies music. He convinced Vincennes University to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting. He’s worked for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.