What She Does Best
Mercury Records 834 625-2 | Released June 1988 | Peak Chart Position: n/a
THE LINER NOTES
Released in the summer of eighty-eight on the Polygram imprint, this twenty-eighth LP from Lynn brought her back to the majors following her brief detour to the Permian label for 1983’s ‘Back’.
Helmed by Nelson Larkin, one of Nashville’s most versatile producers, ‘What She Does Best’ succeeds on two disparate fronts: capturing six of the best recorded performances of Lynn Anderson’s career on one of her least commercially successful LP’s; a fact that doesn’t come close to dampening the album’s artistic triumphs.
With an ear turned decidedly towards Nashville writers, Larkin has framed a collection that showcases Music Row’s diverse tastes and new directions in 1988. Tom Schuyler’s title track, "What He Does Best" lays down an offset rhythm under Lynn with harmonies from Jonelle Mosser, Thomas Cain and Billy Jo Royal. “Martha” stands as one of Hall of Fame writer Don Schlitz’s most captivating story songs, co-written with Kathy Baille and Michael Bonagura. Dramatic and powerful, Larkin’s “How Many Hearts” underscores Lynn’s compelling, passionate vocal; balancing perfectly her subtle, moody and sexy take on "Take Me Like a Vacation" from Kent Robbins.
But the album’s most unexpected moment; its biggest surprise and its most unlikely turn takes the focus eight-hundred and fifty miles away from Music Row to the New Jersey coast for one of the most underrated covers of “Under The Boardwalk” in the song’s long history. Poignant, alive and intoxicating, this is classic Lynn Anderson; a singer’s singer, unfettered by genre or expectation, her voice moving across the melody like a heat wave, breathing new life into a classic piece of American music and making it all her own.
Doing what she does best.
J Buck Ford
"Under the Boardwalk" / "As Long as the Memory Survives" / "Somebody's Shoulder" / "Martha" / "How Many Hearts" / "Take Me Like a Vacation" / "It Goes Without Saying" / "Turn the Page" / "Odds and Ends (Bits and Pieces)"