All The King's Horses
Columbia Records KC 34089 | Released March 1976 | Peak Chart Position: 20
THE LINER NOTES
Released in the spring of seventy-six, ‘All The King’s Horses’ stayed all but true to the Lynn Anderson/Glenn Sutton Hit Album recipe: Take one helping of new material from A-List Nashville writers, add a handful of hand-picked-by-Lynn covers, a dash of the obligatory lyrical tune from Mom, Liz Anderson, and garnish with fresh compositions from husband and producer Glenn Sutton.
But while every previous LP she’d recorded since launching her career in ’67 had a sense of timing, tone, and threads of thematic elements, ‘All The King’s Horses’ feels uneven at first listen; a ten-song set of tracks with no real common denominator, save one: the unmistakable voice of Lynn Anderson; a voice that has matured like a fine wine, aged just enough to bring a wisdom and sublimity to virtually any lyric and melody she wraps it around.
An original from Johnny Cunningham, one of Nashville’s newest writers at the time, the title song hearkens back to many of the fanciful narratives that lined Lynn’s earlier works; a simple, fairy-tale-themed allegory about a heart broken beyond repair, given weight and texture through Lynn’s sheer vocal prowess to take even the most vapid lyric line and give it some kind of emotional substance. And while a handful of singers and singer-poets have given John Prine’s classic, “Paradise” their own sense of ecological awareness, the power of the song’s social narrative is lost in this collection. As is the album’s second Johnny Cunningham track, "Dixieland, You Will Never Die", a lengthy, faux-literary paean to a plantation of the old South.
Like the two re-recordings of Sutton’s "Rodeo Cowboy" and "I Want to Be a Part of You", both fall well under the radar of the LP’s two shining moments: his ballad, “If All I Have To Is Just Love You”; one man’s a simple prayer that his heart and his love is enough. And Gary White’s “Long, Long Time”; a re-imagining of the Linda Ronstadt hit that stands as one of the purest vocals of Lynn Anderson’s career, and one of the most meaningful of her life; expressed achingly in the song’s first two lines; two lines that in the spring of ’76 all but summed up this great artist’s life: …“Love will abide, take things in stride”
J Buck Ford
"All the King's Horses" / "Lyin' Eyes" / "Long Long Time" / "If All I Have to Do Is Just Love You" / "Rodeo Cowboy" / "Dixieland, You Will Never Die" / "That's All He Wrote" / "Paradise" / "Tomorrow" / "I Want to Be a Part of You"