I Never Promised You A Consistent Album

4 May

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LYNN ANDERSONGolden Classics Edition (1997, Collectables)

This was a straight reissue of a couple of her biggest selling LPs, Rose Garden from 1970 and You’re My Man from 1971, plus a few bonus tracks for good measure. The epitome of country-pop success at the time, Lynn Anderson and her big blonde hair hit massively with “Rose Garden” on both pop and country charts. This explains both her frequent guest appearances on The Lawrence Welk Show and the lame attempts at crossing over again cluttering up You’re My Man and many other LPs since. Indeed, it isn’t hard to imagine any of the insipid, strings-ridden covers included – “Joy To The World”, “Knock Three Times”, “Proud Mary” – dribbling out of crackly speakers at out-of-the-way Texas pancake houses, then or now. No doubt it’s this fluff the record company thought was the selling point, but it’s precisely those bits you’d be wisest to avoid.

When she steps back from all that, Lynn actually sounds really fine. She wields quite focused vocal technique not unlike that other big-hair queen, Tammy Wynette – though thankfully, without that woman’s proclivity for masochism. She sings Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Come Down” as if those tough lyrics were handwritten for her; indeed they could be seen to foreshadow her more recent brushes with the law. Her tone remains clear-eyed and never maudlin, lending maturity to tunes like “Another Lonely Night” even when she’s backed with that perky girl-beat that infantilised lesser 60’s country singers like Connie Smith. There will never be anything groundbreaking about her approach, but she’s savvy enough to remain her own woman, regardless of what she’s singing. It’s a neat trick in the face of so much Nashville machinery.

In the end, I appreciate the subtle craft she’s brought to something so mundane. And while I can’t find the reference now, I’m sure Eugene Chadbourne over at All Music once described Lynn as something akin to amazing. I’m not about to argue with that claim today. But whether you really wanna wade this far into the morass of country music for such mixed results is a matter between you and your god alone.

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3 Responses to “I Never Promised You A Consistent Album”

  1. Disaster Amnesiac aka Shovedhead May 4, 2013 at 6:37 pm #

    Casing in is very risky business!

    • mrowster May 6, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

      So is stealing Harry Potter DVDs

  2. Disaster Amnesiac aka Shovedhead May 4, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    I wonder if she’s sobered up by now?

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