First - Lacy J Dalton (no other title)
Brilliant debut that set Lacy on her way
Producer Billy Sherrill said at the time that it is rare to come across singers that sound unique and suggested that Lacy is such a singer. Fair enough, but I've always felt that Lacy's voice is reminiscent of Tanya Tucker's, even though it's easy to tell them apart. It may be significant that Tanya was going through a bad spell in her career when Lacy emerged on the scene with this debut album. It may also be significant that Tanya's comeback occurred at a time when Lacy's records weren't selling quite so well. Then again, these events may just be coincidences.
This album opens with Crazy blue eyes, a truly outstanding ballad that sets the standard for the rest of the album, which is full of songs of a similar quality. The next four songs really rock, but in a style that will please country music fans. High like an angel, Honky tonk man and Carolina come on are all brilliant but I particularly like Beer drinking song.
The remainder of this album is equally impressive but generally slower in tempo, beginning with a revival of the old chestnut, Tennessee waltz. I've heard that this song has spawned more cover versions than any other country song has done. If so, I assume that it must be due to the number of pop, rock, jazz and easy-listening singers who have recorded it. I haven't noticed a huge number of country versions compared to some other country standards. Anyway, Lacy's version is certainly one of the best in any category of music. Two excellent ballads (Late night kind of lonesome, Losing kind of love) precede the rocking Are there any cowboys left in the good old USA? This album closes with Turn my head around.
Lacy maintained the promise of this album in the quality of her subsequent releases, but never achieved the level of commercial success that I hoped for.
Second album from Lacy was brilliant
I remember buying Lacy's music in the early eighties, eagerly looking forward to each album as it came out. At the time, I didn't think quite as much of this album as the one before (her eponymous debut album, reviewed above) and the one after (Takin' it easy, still awaiting a CD release at the start of ), but it was never that far behind those two. This album contains several classic songs that make it essential for all of Lacy's fans.
The album opens with the title track that ought to make people think. Lacy knows about hard times as most people define them (materialistically) but has her own definition of hard times as the song explains. In the next song, Hillbilly girl with the blues, Lacy neatly defines her own musical style, while she illustrates her independent spirit in China doll. Perhaps the best song here is Old soldier, which I believe was written about Willie Nelson. Lacy pays a fine tribute to her father, Ain't nobody who could do it like my Daddy could.
Next come two fine ballads (You can't fool love, Wide eyed and willing), after which the tempo picks up a little for the outstanding song, The girls from Santa Cruz. Next is the very romantic ballad, Whisper. The album closes with Me `n' you, a great song with which to end a brilliant album.
I'm sure that some people rate this as Lacy's finest ever album and I can well understand that. The fact that I rate it only about fifth (after Survivor, her debut album, Takin' it easy and Lacy J) says much about the consistently high quality of Lacy's music, especially as she also recorded some other great albums outside of my top five. I suspect that 16th Avenue, which I never bought for some inexplicable reason, is every bit as good as these, and I look forward to it being released on CD, perhaps coupled with Takin' it easy.