• RANDY TRAVIS: STORMS OF LIFE: 1986: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: One of the brightest country albums of the 80’s- Travis’s debut album was a bonanza- 2 country #1’s- On The Other Hand and Diggin’ Up Bones, #2 No Place Like Home and #6 No Place Like Home- the best song on the album wasn’t even released as a single- Storms of Life… In reading the credits back then- Al Gore is credited as a songwriter on Diggin’ Up Bones-  the inventor of the internet co-wrote this song? Later I found out it was not THAT Al Gore aka Mr. Global Warning but another Al Gore.

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  • JOHN COUGAR: AMERICAN FOOL: 1982:  4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Up until hearing Jack and Diane I hadn’t been all that impressed with Johnny Cougar- a Bryan Adams on steriods or as my friend Dale still calls him- Springsteen Lite.  Jack and Diane not only went to #1 it was actually pretty good. Hurts So Good #2 wasn’t bad either. I didn’t go out and get a Cougar album until the next one when he was John Cougar Mellencamp and I’d heard the brilliant Pink Houses. Hand To Hold On To was also a hit #19, the album went to #1 his only #1 album- Jack and Diane was his only #1 single.


  • EMMYLOU HARRIS: ELITE HOTEL: 1975: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Every musician of note seems to love Emmylou Harris. If I were a music artist i’d surely want her singing on at least one of my songs If she would be willing to do it. She became famous for her work with Gram Parsons- then went on to a great solo career- while still being much in demand as a back up singer. This was her second great album released in 1975. It went to #1 on the country charts and had two #1 hits- covers of Buck Owens Together Again and Patsy Cline’s Sweet Dreams. She can sing anything- not only does she cover Buck, Patsy and Gram Parsons on this album but two of the giants- The Beatles and The Hillbilly Shakespeare- Hank Williams .  Also a cover of a song by a young Rodney Crowell.  She won a Grammy for best female vocal country performance.


  • KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: THE SILVER TONGUED DEVIL AND I: 1971: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: It can easily be forgotten that Kris was a big star in the early to mid 70’s- he was everywhere- music and movies. His songwriting revolutionized Nashville. He got a late start- he was approaching his mid 30’s when his debut album came out in 1970. Making up for lost time his second album came out the next year. The Silver Tongued Devil and I, Jody and Me, Lovin’ Her Was Easier {a country and pop hit}The Taker and one of my favorite Kris songs ever “The Pilgrim Chapter 33” among my favorites on this album.  Kris is still going strong at 82.

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  • JONI MITCHELL: FOR THE ROSES:  1972: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This is the album released between my two favorite Joni albums Blue and Court and Spark.  A lot of these songs reportedly inspired by her relationship at the time with James Taylor. The best known song from the album is You Turn Me On I’m A Radio which hit #25 which was her first Top 40 hit in the US. A gem of an album. Joni in her prime.


  1. Funny about Al Gore! Re Mellencamp I hear you although I think with Scarecrow and Lonesome Jubilee he started more closely approaching Springsteen level

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