Classic Album Review-Juice Newton “Quiet Lies”
Greetings from Asheville, where the good music flows, all the time. Today’s Classic Album Review is a look back at a 1982 release from Judy Kay “Juice” Newton. Quiet Lies was her seventh album release, fifth for Capitol. Released in May, it became the second of two Juice Newton albums to attain Gold status, selling just under a million copies. The album climbed as high as seven on the Country bestseller lists, while hitting a high of twenty on the Pop side. This would be the last of her albums to break into the top ten. As for singles, three came from the album; “Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me”, “Break It To Me Gently”, and “Heart Of The Night”. All three singles made it onto the Pop top 40, while both “Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me” and “Break It To Me Gently” were Country 40 hits, with the latter being the only top ten hit on either chart, peaking at two on the Country charts. It was also the last significant hit for Juice, until 1985. “Heart Of The Night” was the follow-up, but only peaked in the fifties on the Country side, while stopping at twenty-five on the Pop side. After that, her next seven singles failed to generate much buzz, with only “Ride ‘Em Cowboy” breaking into the Country 40. But in 1985, after a label change to RCA, she would return to prominence, as the number one hit, “You Make Me Want To Make You Mine” began a run of five straight top five hits.
“Heart Of The Night” is the album’s opening track, as well as the album’s third single. A sound that is more Pop/Rock, than it is Country, yet also has to be considered one of the album’s highlights. A great track, despite it’s less-than-stellar chart peaks as a single.
It’s interesting to note that “Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me”, the lead-off single, did crack the Country 40, despite being an out and out rocker; no Country, whatsoever. For me, it’s also the weakest of the three singles. An okay track, but one that’s never been able to grab my attention, that much. That said, I do have to say that the exchange between the verses and the title are pretty cool. It’s also worth noting that one of the background voices on this track, is the late Andrew Gold, who scored his own Pop hit in 1977 with song, “Lonely Boy”, a song that my wife and I just happened to be listening to, today.
“Break It To Me Gently”; I guess you could call it a power ballad; was the album’s big hit. I don’t know how you can’t like this song. No, it’s not Country in the Ricky Skaggs or George Jones, sense, but the song, itself, has a strong Country feel to it. Of course, this wasn’t the song’s first go-around, as it had been a 1962 Pop hit (#4) for Brenda Lee. This is one of those relatively rare songs, where I actually prefer the remake.
“Love Sail Away” is fun, bouncy track that has a touch of Rockabilly feel to it. You might remember (if you’re in my age range) that this was around the time that a group called The Stray Cats were giving that style a brief revitalization, and this track would fit right in with that.
Side one ends with a ballad, “I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can”. Written by legendary songwriter Bob McDill, who wrote many of Don Williams’ hits, it’s a soft sound that highlights how well Juice Newton could handle a slower song.
Side two opens with another cover, the Gene Pitney hit “I’m Gonna Be Strong”. Arranged in a fashion not unlike her earlier hit, “Angel Of The Morning”, in fact, you feel like that’s what they’re going for. While it’s a great song and I really like how Juice Newton handles it, here’s the issue I have with it; the original Gene Pitney version starts out sparse, slowing increasing the sound and the drama throughout, until you get the big finish, and it works well on this song. Unfortunately, here, they try to do the dramatic feel throughout the whole song, and while it’s not a complete miss, I think the track loses something with that style, as opposed to the original Pitney version.
“Trail Of Tears” is another track that originates from the Nashville writing set, this time Roger Cook and Allen Reynolds. Good Country-rocker, here, that one will be hard-pressed to find anything to not like about.
The album takes a more Country direction, along with a dash of that South Of The Border sound on “Adios Mi Corazon”, a track that would have fit right in with that era’s Country sounds. A mid tempo track that I would label as decent.
“Falling In Love” is another Bob McDill song that first saw light as part of Don Williams’ 1977 Country Boy album. The strongest Country sound on the album, also a decent track, where the song is elevated by the performance of the vocalist, Juice Newton.
The album’s final track is the ballad “Ever True”, which is performed in what I’d label as a medium-slow tempo and continues a more Country direction of the previous two tracks. And of the non-singles, it’s the strongest ballad on the album, great track.
The album is available, solo, as an MP3 download. As for a CD copy, you can get it as part of a two-fer, with her previous release, Juice, or, I also saw a three-fer, that also includes both of these albums, along with the next release Dirty Looks. As for used copies, both vinyl and cassette seem to be easy to find, and both generally less than $10.
My Standout Track goes to “Heart Of The Night”. Great track. “Ever True” gets my Hidden Gem nod, while the Weakest Track goes to “Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me”. I know there are those who won’t believe that’s my pick, but the song just never did anything for me.
Overall, it’s another fine effort from Juice Newton. I don’t think Quiet Lies was quite as good as Juice, put it comes pretty close. The biggest difference between the two albums, is that the grit heard on the Juice release, got a bit more polished, here. Still, a very good album, though, one that’s definitely held up well, over the years. I rate it a 3.5 out of 5.