Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always spinning on the turntable. This Classic Album Review recalls a 1972 Lynn Anderson release, Listen to A Country Song. Her ninth release for Columbia after joining the label in 1970. The album peaked at number three on Billboard’s country bestseller list, while also getting a little love from the pop side, where it would peak at one-sixty. Single-wise, two tracks made it to radio playlists and 45’s, the title cut, and “Fool Me”. Both peaked at number four in Billboard. In Cashbox, the title tracked also peaked at four, while “Fool Me” did better, going to number one.
Produced by her then-husband Glenn Sutton, all but the title track was recorded during sessions in January 1972. “Listen to A Country Song” was the last track recorded, in April.
It’s the title track that opens this album. A perfect summertime release, with great rhythm and lite, fun lyrics. Worth noting that Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina wrote the song. By the end of the year, they would be near the top of the pop charts with “Your Mama Don’t Dance”.
“Reason to Believe” is best remembered as part of Rod Stewart’s double-side hit with “Maggie May”. Glen Campbell had also cut it as part of his Wichita Lineman album. Lynn does a pretty nice version, best described as a lite sound.
Speaking of covers, “There’s A Party Goin’ on”, a summertime hit in 1972 for Jody Miller is next. Had Jody’s version not been a hit, it’s entirely conceivable that Lynn’s version could have been. It sounds not too different than the original. Glenn Sutton co-wrote it with Billy Sherrill and allegedly, Lynn was none too happy that Miller got it as a single instead of her.
One more in a trio of covers, as Lynn tackles “Everybody’s Reaching Out for Someone”, which had been a top twenty hit earlier in the year for Pat Daisy (her only hit). Again, it’s a nice version, with good tempo.
Lynn also gives a nice effort on the ballad “If I Can’t Be Your Woman”. The song is average, but it is enhanced by the effort of Lynn Anderson.
Side one ends with the up tempo “Just Keep It Up”. I like this track, I think it’s a good, bouncy number that has an easy-to-follow melody. A fun track to listen to. I like Lynn’s version better than the Narvel Felts version that would crack the country top forty, six years later.
Side two opens with my favorite track on the disc, and one of my favorite Lynn Anderson songs, “Fool Me”. A top five hit in the late fall of 1972, we’re talking great lyrics combined with a great melody, pleasing to the ears that appreciate good country music.
Next, Lynn covers the Tammy Wynette ballad, “Take Me to Your World”. Not a bad cover, similar to the original.
Next to “Fool Me”, “You’re Everything” may be the best cut on side two. Infectious beat/melody combination that catches and holds the attention of the listener throughout the track.
“It Don’t Do No Good to Be A Good Girl” is a decent track; basically standard 1970’s country-pop fare, here. Not bland, but not a standout, either.
The last cut on the disc, “That’s What Loving You Has Meant to Me” is a cut that previously appeared on her 1971 album “How Can I Unlove You”. When I reviewed that album (one of our first reviews), I stated that it was an example of an okay song made better by the arrangement and the vocal performance. Listening again, I would have to say that is still the best description.
This album, from what I can determine, is not currently available. You will run across a CD and MP3 with the same Listen to A Country Song title, but it’s a completely different album. Used copies are relatively easy to find, though, most that I saw on Amazon and eBay are under $10, as are used cassettes. This album would have been released on 8-track, as well. Later, the Pickwick label also re-issued this album with a different cover, a red and white checkered pattern with a close-up pick of Lynn Anderson. The songs are sequenced differently on this version. Goldmine values near-mint copies of the original at $15. Apparently, the Pickwick reissue has very little value, even in near-mint condition.
Overall, it’s an album that doesn’t rank as her best, but it’s a good album. Some of the songs are stronger than others, but there’s nothing bad here. Enjoyable listening. Your thoughts?
Saving vinyl one record at a time.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.