Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always on the turntable. Today’s Classic Album Review remembers one of the immensely popular albums from Canadian legend Anne Murray. Anne was a regular visitor to both the country and pop charts during her run in the 1970’s and 1980’s, with forty-one Country top forty appearances and eleven on the Pop side. Twenty-five of those records made the Country top ten, while four would equal that feat on the Pop side. While she never visited the number one position on the Pop charts, she did visit it ten times on the Country side. Almost as impressive as her Country success, is her success on the Adult Contemporary format, where she placed nineteen top ten hits, with eight number ones.
Today’s featured album is from what I consider to be her most prolific period, the late 1970’s. I say that, because this was the time when she was having not only the Country and AC success, but also on the Pop side. New Kind of Feeling was released by Capitol Records in January 1979, and would ultimately sell over a million copies, peaking at number six on the Country bestseller list, while just missing Pop’s top spot, stopping at number two. Two hit singles are contained on this album.
The album kicks off with one of those hit singles, “Shadows In The Moonlight”. A number one Country hit in the summer of 1979, and a top 40 Pop hit, as well. Great mid-tempo track; one of my Anne Murray favorites. To me, what really puts this track over the top is the sax solo as the track fades; a great sound, great end, great track.
While most of Anne’s biggest hits were mid to slower tempo ballads, she could rock or swing quite well, when she wanted, as she shows on “You’ve Got It What It Takes”. An excellent piece of vocal work, on what I think is a great song. The only thing negative I can say is the arrangement is lacking. Whereas the sax part enhances “Shadows In The Moonlight”, here, the sax, along with the brass, get in the way. Of course, now, thirty-two years later, it also sounds dated. I would have liked to have heard more of a Country-Rock backing.
Another Anne Murray classic, “I Just Fall in Love Again”. One of her biggest hits, it spent three weeks on top of the Country charts in the early spring of 1979, while popping into the Pop’s top fifteen. Great ballad. It may not be very Country, but it’s a great recording no matter what genre you want to put it in.
“Take This Heart” is a ballad that falls somewhere in the average range, but with a little more work, could have been a very good song. I like the melody, particularly the refrain, but lyrically, it lacks. That refrain gets used too much, resulting in a feeling of sameness and stagnation by the end.
I find nothing to complain about on the first side’s final track. “Yucatan Café” is a mellow track that within two or three listens, hooks you with it’s gentle, flowing melody. Good track, definite Hidden Gem contender.
With a look at side one completed, let’s turn our attention to side two. Side two opens with the track, “For No Reason At All”. Nothing fancy, here. Just a nice, steady piece of music.
“Rainin’ In My Heart” is an old Buddy Holly track that later became a 1969 top twenty hit for Ray Price. Perhaps the most country recording on the disc, with a good dose of steel guitar. I really like how Anne interprets this track. Some of her best singing, here, with a version that is every bit as good as the Holly and Price versions. And I like the fact, too, that the arrangement wasn’t overdone to point of overpowering the vocal or the song itself.
“That’s Why I Love You” is another track that is not anything that jumps out at you, but is just nice, steady, consistent music-making. Mid-tempo, with a good melody and decent lyrics.
Pretty much the same story for “(He Can’t Help It) He’s Not You”. Slightly slower tempo, than the previous track. Not anything incredible, but if you like Anne Murray, you’ll like this track.
The album’s final track is a short tune titled “Heaven Is Here”. A little more tempo, with a decent melody, but at the same time, just a bit bland. I want to like it, but it just doesn’t quite hold my interest.
You shouldn’t have much trouble find a good used vinyl copy of this album. Or, if digital is your thing, it is available on CD and MP3 download, as well.
Overall, a collection that may not be the best one to introduce Anne’s music to someone (not including the two outstanding singles), but one that didn’t disappoint her fans. A good, solid album. And, to no surprise, Anne Murray’s vocals are stellar, as always. Your thoughts?
Saving vinyl, one record at a time.
Mike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, model railroader, 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 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.