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Classic Album Review-Oak Ridge Boys – “Y’all Come Back Saloon”

Today, we look back at the Oak Ridge Boys’ first hit country album, “Y’all Come Back Saloon” from 1977.

Even though the Oaks were relative newcomers to country music, in 1977, they weren’t newcomers, at all, in music. The group had been formed in 1945, as the Oak Ridge Quartet, and throughout the 1950′s and 1960′s, were one of the most popular acts in gospel music. However, that popularity began to wane, in the early 1970′s, as they began to branch out their sound, something that longtime fans were not comfortable with. Eventually, the decision was made to switch from gospel to country music, and to use a highly overused line, “the rest is history”.

The album begins with the title cut, which also became their first country music hit. It’s a song that if I were to list my ten best of the 1970′s, it would have to get strong consideration; it’s one of the best songs they ever put on the market.

“I’ll Be True To You”, which became their first number one hit, is sad, but avoids the sap factor. It was also featured on their follow-up album, “Room Service”.

They add a touch of bluegrass to the album with “An Old Time Family Bluegrass Band”. Nothing particularly special about this cut, but it is a nice up tempo toe-tapper.

“Didn’t She Really Thrill Them (Back In 1924)” is frankly, to me, nothing more than filler. When I listened to this album for the first time in who-knows-when, I actually found my attention drifting away from the disc, during this cut. There’s just really nothing to this cut.

Fortunately, things improve a bit, with the next cut, “Old Time Lovin’”. While it’s a completely secular selection, it certainly has a southern gospel style to it, which is a perfect vehicle for the Oaks, especially at that time, as they were switching from gospel to country. A nice beat to this song.

As we flip the disc over and begin the second side, things start with “Freckles”, a decent song, but nothing particularly special.

“You’re The One” is one of those hits that you can’t help to sing along to, when it comes on the radio, that is, IF it comes on the radio, which is rare, anymore. It’s one of the best cuts on the album.

“Let Me Be The One” is not the same song as which was a hit for Hank Locklin in the early 1950′s, but is actually somewhat similar, lyrically. A pretty decent mid tempo song, that is one of the better cuts on the album.

“Easy” is the story of a young girl with a less-than-stellar reputation. With the subject matter and the fact that this is country music, you’re initially led to believe the song will have a sad ending, but not so, in this case.

When this album was initially released in 1977, the song, “Emmylou” could have been considered lighthearted or whimsical or cute. It’s about a guy who does everything he can to be close to his idol, a singer named Emmylou, which one has to figure, is Emmylou Harris. However, 33 years later, after all of the stories we’ve seen with stalkers and paparazzi, including those with deadly results, it now seems more creepy, than anything else.

Under it’s original title, it does not appear that this album has seen the light of day on CD or MP3 download, by itself, however, it was part of a CD package that included this album, along with their third release, “The Oak Ridge Boys Have Arrived”, but that appears to be out of print, as the only copies I’ve found were used ones, priced upwards of $50. Not worth it. On the other hand, you can still find a 1995 re-release, that MCA re-titled “You’re The One”, that is still out there, both on CD and MP3 download. It’s the exact same album, just a different title. If you’re looking for a used vinyl copy, no problem, there. I found many copies for sale, online. I even found 2-3 8-track tapes for sale. How about that!

Overall, there are three standout songs, all of which were top ten hits, while the rest of the album ranges from average to pretty decent. I will rate it 3 out of 5.

MORE GREAT COUNTRY GROUPS

“Fancy Free”

The Glaser Brothers – “Greatest Hits”

Alabama – “Forty Hour Week”

Hoosier Hot Shots – “Rural Rhythm”

Alabama – “My Home’s In Alabama”

Statler Brothers – “Entertainers On And Off The Record”

Amazing Rhythm Aces – “Stacked Deck”

Statler Brothers – “The Country America Loves”

AND MORE…

Statler Brothers – “Maple Street Memories”

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