Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always around. Today’s Classic Album Review is a 1979 release from one of the hottest acts of the that era. Though Barbara Mandrell had been active on the charts since the early 1970’s, it wasn’t until the end of the decade, when she really hit her stride. She had some success during her early days with Columbia, but after moving to ABC (later MCA), her career would really pick up some steam, making the top five with “Standing Room Only” (1976); “Married But Not To Each Other” (1977); “Woman To Woman” (1978); and “Tonight” (1978), before finally breaking all the way to the top with “Sleeping Single In A Double Bed”, a single featured on her Moods album. Today’s Classic Album Review features the follow-up, Just For The Record. Released in August, 1979, this album, her first to be released under the MCA name, fared nearly as well as the predecessor, peaking only one spot lower on the album charts, at nine, while also making a brief appearance on the pop 200. Overall, not counting compilations, it was her tenth album release (including one duet album with David Houston). Two singles came from the album, with one, “Years”, becoming her third number one single.
The album’s first single opens the collection. “Fooled By A Feeling” was released about the same time as the album, and would climb into the top five, by Fall, peaking at four in October. It’s a country/pop/disco mix, though not to the extent of Bill Anderson’s “I Can’t Wait Any Longer”. While, today, that may sound like an odd mix to younger folks, one must remember how popular disco was, at that time, and it was actually influencing other musical genres, including country. It is a good record, though. Bouncy, and a very catchy melody.
“Years” is the next track on the album. Debuting on the Country 40 in January, 1980, it became her third number one single. There’s no doubt, here, what the Standout Track for this album is. The song, itself, is an incredible piece of writing, both lyrically and musically, and then you throw in an equally incredible performance by Barbara Mandrell, the overall result is simply one of the best singles of her career.
Barbara, like many other artists of her era, has gotten some criticism, over the years, for the amount of pop sounds that were mixed into her records. And while there are tracks that certainly feel as the production went a little overboard in that area, the fact is that, vocally, she could almost always pull off that style, successfully. In fact, I’d argue that her and Ronnie Milsap may have been the best in that regard.
“My Love Can Do No Wrong” is certainly a strong pop sound, but with an equally strong soul feel to it. It’s not always mentioned, but when you listen to her vocals, often you will hear a pretty strong soul or R & B feel mixed in, and it really shows, here. I love the vocal, here, but the song, itself, isn’t bad, either, with a catchy, infectious feel to it. A Hidden Gem contender.
Barbara goes back towards a stronger country direction on “She’s Out There Dancin’ Alone”. It’s classic beer hall music, though slickened up a bit. Strong lyrics, delivered exceptionally well by Barbara Mandrell, practically puts you inside the main subject, a woman who’s waiting for a man who’ll never show up. I’ve always said the Merle Haggard’s been a master at making you feel as though you are there, in whatever he’s singing about. This is very similar.
You know, Barbara Mandrell can really belt some blues, too. Need proof? I offer the track, “Selfish”. Great song that’s easy to like.
Side two opens with “Darlin'”, a song that hit for both David Rogers and Tom Jones (during his country days of the early 1980’s). Barbara gives a fine performance, of this track.
It feels like there should be a disco ball spinning, when you listen to “Using Him To Get To You”. It’s a medium-tempo, pop-country piece that comes off pretty well.
So far, Barbara’s covered country, disco, pop, and soul; now it’s time for a country-rocker with “Is It Love Yet”. Featuring a rhythm track that is somewhat reminiscent of “Sleeping Single In A Double Bed”, vocally, it’s a great performance by Barbara Mandrell. The song, itself, is catchy.
“It Can Wait” has a sound similar to “Woman To Woman”, but isn’t nearly as strong of a composition. Good performance of an okay song.
One more medium ballad wraps this album. “Love Takes A Long Time To Die” isn’t a standout piece, but it’s not bad. A standard country-pop piece.
This album is out of print, but used copies are easy to find. Initially released on vinyl, 8-track, and cassette, I found all three formats for sale, most around $10.
My Standout Track is “Years”. Simply one of her best-ever recordings. I’m giving “My Love Can Do No Wrong” my Hidden Gem, with it’s great soul feel. “I Can’t Wait” gets my nod for Weakest Track. The song is okay, but not as strong as the other nine, despite a fine vocal by Barbara Mandrell.
Overall, a nice package from 1979. It’s been at least twenty-five years since I’ve heard this album in it’s entirety and I think it’s actually a stronger piece than I remembered. Even with the disco influence on some tracks, it’s held up amazingly well over thirty-three years. I rate it a 3.5 out of 5.
Categories: Classic Album Reviews Tags: 1979, Barbara Mandrell, classic country, country albums, Country Music, country oldies, Darlin', David Rogers, Fooled By A Feeling, Just For The Record, MCA Records, Sleeping Single In A Double Bed, Tom Jones, Years
Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always found on the turntable, in the CD player, or in the MP3 player. Today’s Single Of The Day harkens back to an artist that I’m sure, in the minds of many who experienced 1970’s Country music, firsthand, may have completely forgotten, despite having a relatively decent career in Country music, David Rogers. His overall recording career spanned the period, 1967 to 1988. During that time, twenty-one of his singles broke into the Country 40, with two of those making it into the top ten, “Need You” and “Loving You Has Changed My Life”. Three others were able to make it into the Country 20, while, interestingly, six of his singles got close to the Country 20, but stopped in that 21-23 range, including today’s featured single.
The fourteenth of those twenty-one Country 40 singles, “I’m Gonna Love You Right Out Of This World”. The slower ballad, released on Gene Autry’s Republic label, was his third single for the label, and after it’s February, 1977 debut, would peak at twenty-one. A good, solid vocalist, mixed with a good song, this is an excellent release, that in my opinion, should have been a higher peaking single. A fine piece of music, right here.
If you remember the music of David Rogers, or if you’d like to learn about this 1970’s-era vocalist, then you’ll want to check out an article written by our buddy Paul W. Dennis, a few years ago, on the website the9513, that gives a really nice overview of his career. You can read that article by simply clicking here.
Saving vinyl, one record at a time.
Categories: Single Of The Day Tags: 1977, classic country, Country Music, country oldies, David Rogers, Gene Autry, I'm Gonna Love You Right Out Of This World, Loving You Has Changed My Life, Need You, Republic Records
This time, celebrating their seventh anniversary, again with the basement sale, but this time, the albums were fifty cents a piece.
Categories: Thrift Shop Finds Tags: Bill Anderson, Buck Owens, Carl Smith, classic country, Claude Gray, Conway Twitty, country albums, Country Music, country oldies, David Rogers, Don Gibson, Eddie Dean, Eddy Arnold, Ernest Tubb, Faron Young, Ferlin Husky, Glen Campbell, Hank Locklin, Harvest Records, Jan Howard, Jeannie C. Riley, Jimmie Davis, Jimmy Dean, John Conlee, Johnny Lee, Johnny Tillotson, Mel Tillis, Merle Haggard, Roy Clark, Sammi Smith, Shelly West, Skeeter Davis, Skeets McDonald, Slim Whitman, Slim Willet, Sonny James, Sons Of The Pioneers, Susan Raye, Tanya Tucker, The Browns, Vern Gosdin, Wilburn Brothers