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Classic Album Review-Anne Murray “Where Do You Go When You Dream”

Today’s time traveling drops us off in 1981, when Reagan was prez; baseball’s season was split; The USSR was still a concern; the TV showed us Dukes, Ewings, Carringtons, and Les Nesman; my age group bought records from Air Supply, Blondie, and REO Speedwagon; and country music in 1981 was Haggard, Jones, Rogers, Statlers, Oaks, Mandrell, Willie, Dolly, and Bocephus. George Strait was a newcomer, and while Dolly was country’s biggest selling female vocalist, the subject of today’s Classic Album Review, Anne Murray, wasn’t too far behind in the sales ledger. For Anne, 1981 started with the release of her “Greatest Hits” and ended with the release of “Christmas Wishes”. In between, was the release of “Where Do You Go When You Dream”. Containing four singles, of which three would reach the top ten, the album would place as high as number four on the country bestseller list, while reaching a high of fifty-five, on the pop side of things.

Kicking things off on this collection is one of Anne’s number one hits, “Blessed Are The Believers”, a song that topped the charts in the spring of 1981 (has it really been that long?). I’ve always thought of this as one of her better releases, though a song that seems to often get overlooked, despite it’s high chart placing. A nice ballad, that brings to us a good melody, with good lyrics; just an easy song to listen to and like. It’s also worth noting that this was Anne’s last top forty pop appearance.

One contender for the Hidden Gem, is “It Should Have Been Easy”. Another ballad, again, it’s a melody that just has an easiness to it, listening-wise. Good enough to have been single-worthy, though never released as one.

“If A Heart Must Be Broken” is a decent ballad. I think, though, it drops off a bit from the first two. Still not a bad track.

Next, Anne gives us her take on a Larry Gatlin composition, “Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall”. Stripped down with minimal backing and harmony, it gives this track a really more effective result. Good songwriting and good singing equals good music, and that’s what we get, here.

“It’s All I Can Do” is another underrated Anne Murray ballad, in my opinion, and it wraps side one. A top ten hit in the latter part of 1981, it’s one of those tracks that just stay with me whenever I hear it. It’s an ear-pleasing track.

After a rather mellow side one, it’s time to check out side two, which opens with yet another ballad, “We Don’t Have To Hold Out”. Now, I thought this was a great record, when it came out as a single, in the summer of 1981. Even today, I’m somewhat amazed that this barely scratched the top twenty. It’s got a great melody, the lyrics are great, and Anne’s vocals are on the mark. So why not a big hit? We’ll have to ask a 1981 Program Director, I guess. Certainly one of the album’s high marks.

“Another Sleepless Night”, the fourth single from the album, and a track that ends the string of medium-slow/slow tempo ballads. This was a top ten hit in early 1982, for Anne. Decent track, though I actually think the weakest of the four singles. The closest thing to a rocker on this album.

The title cut, “Where Do You Go When You Dream” continues the ballad-heavy tilt of this album. Again, very much along the lines of the other tracks of this album, in that it’s a nice track, giving us good lyrics, a nice melody, and good vocal work. But, also very similar sounding, as well.

“Call Me With The News” and “Only Love” are the final cuts on the disc, and both pick up the tempo, giving us something a bit different than the rest of the album. “Call Me With The News” is an okay track, but nothing particularly special. Meanwhile, “Only Love” has a rather catchy melody that after a couple of listens could easily get into your head.

This album is available on CD, but only as a package, with Anne’s 1982 release, “Hottest Night Of The Year”. You can also pick up this album as an MP3 download. In addition, numerous used vinyl copies can be found, along with some used cassettes. I even found one 8-track listed on Ebay, a rapidly dying format, by 1981.

As for the album’s Standout Track, I think you can make a valid argument for any of the three hit ballads, but for me, I have to go with “It’s All I Can Do”. Yes, it didn’t chart as high as “Blessed Are The Believers”, but again, it’s a song that stays with me, whenever I hear it. The Hidden Gem will go to “It Should Have Been Easy”, while the Weakest Track, for me, is “Call Me With The News”.

This is an interesting album to listen to. On one hand, you have ten tracks, of which nine range from very good to excellent. However, as a collection, it does get a bit monotonous after awhile, due to the extremely heavy load of ballads, all of which use the same formula, arrangement-wise. What could have made this album better, would have been to either drop a couple of the ballads for some more tempo, then mix them throughout the album; or to have tried some different arrangements on some of the tracks, so as to mix things up a bit more. Probably nitpicking, but that’s my take. Overall, it’s an album that’s decent. One that I’m sure her fans have enjoyed, over the past twenty-nine years. I think the overall song quality trumps the sameness, in this case, so I’ll rate it a 4 out of 5. Thoughts?

MORE 1980′s COUNTRY MUSIC

Anne Murray – “New Kind Of Feeling”

Reba McEntire – “What Am I Gonna Do About You”

Ronnie Milsap – “Keyed Up”

Ricky Skaggs – “Highways And Heartaches”

Rosanne Cash – “King’s Record Shop”

Willie Nelson – “Stardust”

ALSO…

Razzy Bailey – “Feelin’ Right”

David Frizzell – “The Family’s Fine, But This One’s All Mine”

Lacy J. Dalton – “Takin’ It Easy”


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