15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The start of a great career,
This review is from: Pieces Of The Sky (Audio CD)
Yes, there was an Emmylou album before this – the Gliding bird album on an independent label – but good though it was, it is this album that marks the beginning of Emmylou's career as we know it. Setting a pattern that would characterize many of Emmylou's albums, it featured many covers and few originals. Top quality musicians and Emmylou's superb voice ensured that the covers were often as good as, and sometimes better than, the originals.
On this album, there are three new songs, beginning with the rocking, upbeat Bluebird wine, the first of many songs written by Rodney Crowell that Emmylou would record. Even better is Boulder to Birmingham, a great ballad that has been covered by both the Hollies and Joan Baez. Incidentally, the title contains the names of two towns – Boulder in Colorado and Birmingham in Alabama. The other original, another fine ballad, is Before believing.
My favorite track here is Queen of the silver dollar, a song originally recorded by Dr Hook and the Medicine show. I like their version but Emmylou and her musicians improved on it and I don't understand why it wasn't released as a single. It was left to Dave and Sugar to take the song up the country charts. Their version is wonderful but still can't match Emmylou's.
Emmylou does a fine cover of Dolly's Coat of many colors, but this autobiographical song is the most personal of all Dolly's songs. Emmylou's cover is the best I've heard, but still not quite up to the original, although I'm glad she recorded it.
The other covers are all equal to or better than the original versions, and that is hifg praise indeed considering who the original artists were. Too far gone was originally recorded (as far as I can tell) by the late, great Dottie West in the sixties but remained obscure until Barbara Fairchild took it up the country charts. If I could only win your love was the first Louvin brothers song that Emmylou covered but certainly not the last. Bottle let me down was one of Merle Haggard's early classics. Sleepless nights was first recorded by the Everly brothers in the early sixties and was later covered by the Judds in the eighties. For no one is a Beatles song that first appeared on the Revolver album.
This, then, was a very strong debut album from Emmylou. It set the standard for the next few years. The style of the music would vary but the quality was consistently high.