Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"My Home's in Alabama" by Alabama (1980)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl.

Still Filed Between: Aerosmith and The Allman Brothers

Key Tracks:
My Home's in Alabama, Why Lady Why, Tennessee River

Obvious Filler & Swings-and-Misses:
Get It While It's Hot doesn't hold a candle to Amos Moses.  Or Up on Cripple Creek.  Or Love Machine.  But it sure thinks it's all of them.

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
Recommended Listening (3/4 stars)

The last time I talked about Alabama, I said they were about as country as Garth Brooks.  "My Home's in Alabama" continues to prove it true.  Even so - like Garth, Alabama has some truly great songs.

The title track pretty much sums up the high points of the band's career.  The lyrics are straight country.  The sound is seventies adult contemporary (dowsed so heavily in orchestra stings that the vapors alone will give you a contact high), with the occasional harmonica or fiddle thrown in for "country's" sake.  Even the Allman Brothers' Ramblin' Man inspired guitar outro is so polished that the only thing remaining is a perfect nub.  But still, it's a great song - even in the face of its own slickness.

Why Lady Why is proof that ALABAMA IS NOT COUNTRY.  Like most of the record, it sounds like something by America, or maybe disco-era Doctor Hook.  Hank Williams it ain't.  Oh, man.  Those overbearing, in-your-face strings again...  Of course, it's a great song too.

Attention!  Attention!  I Wanna Come Over is running a sale on seventies pop music cliches!  So, what are you looking for?  Bossa nova keys?  Harmonies in the stylings of the Bee Gees?  A wood block solo?  A late nite hookup plea?  That actually works?  We've got all that and more right here!

Like Icarus, Tennessee River flies too close to the country run.  So, the boys have to melt its wings by kicking the song off with a tremolo-pedal guitar playing cheesy porno music.  (Is "cheesy porno music" redundant?)  And yet, it's still a great song.

So, is it an album?  Yes.  The sound is consistent (albeit terribly dated), even if the songwriting isn't.  By the way, the last sound you hear on on this LP is that of orchestra strings.

Up next, "American Fool" by John Cougar.  Oh yeah, life goes on...

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