Each month for our ELLN teleconference this year, I am highlighting an album. I hope you join us on our Forums or for this afternoon’s call. If you’re an in-house counsel and not part of the ACC or the Employment & Labor Law Network, you can join ACC and ELLN today and see what we’re all about! I hope to (virtually) see you soon.
ELLN May Music Quick Pick
ELLN Chair Doug Hass has long been a music buff (he founded country music site Roughstock.com in 1993) and long done a lot of driving for and to work. That’s given him lots of time to indulge and explore his music interests To help entertain you on your commutes or at the gym, office, home, or on the go, Doug is offering a year-long series of picks that will showcase some of the best albums you may have never heard, or that deserve another listen. We hope that each monthly choice piques your interest in these albums and artists. These may be titles that you have never heard of, but our hope is that your interest will be piqued and your musical world enriched!
This month, we’ll leave the red dirt of Oklahoma and Texas and head back to east to Nashville and the artist who is often credited with paving the way in the late 80s for the more traditional country sound to return to mainstream country radio: Randy Travis. This month’s pick is his second album, Always and Forever. I pick this album not only because it is top-to-bottom an almost perfectly constructed country album, but also because it exemplifies what makes music special. “Always & Forever” was the first album (cassette, actually) that I ever bought with my own money. Sure, I had plenty of albums and a pile of 8-tracks from my parents, but “Always & Forever” was mine. Other than the Detroit Tigers making the playoffs, I do not remember much about 1987. However, play a few bars of any of those 10 tracks, and I go right back to where I was when I first started wearing that tape out over Memorial Day weekend 1987. Without the music, I can’t tell you anything about that weekend, and certainly nothing that would feel quite as immediate or emotional as listening to this album.
Always & Forever followed close on the heels of Storms Of Life, released in mid-1986, continuing the high peak of Travis’s career. Always & Forever spawned 4 singles, all of which reached the top of the Billboard charts: “Too Gone Too Long,” “I Won’t Need You Anymore (Always and Forever),” “Forever and Ever, Amen,” and “I Told You So.” “Forever and Ever, Amen,” is the center of everything on this album. The single, written by legendary songwriters Paul Overstreet (who was hitting his peak as a singer at the same time) and Don Schlitz, won a Grammy for Best Country & Western Song and the Academy of Country Music Award for Song of the Year. Overstreet and Schlitz created not only the best country song of 1987, but one of the best of all time. However, that single is just one of several fabulous, simply produced ballads on the album. Like some of our other monthly picks, this record holds up very well 33 years later. Other highlights include “Good Intentions,” co-written by Travis with Merle Haggard and Marvin Coe, “What’ll You Do About Me,” and the album’s capstone track, “Tonight We’re Gonna Tear Down the Walls.” Take yourself back to 1987 and give this album a listen.
I hope you enjoy (or enjoy rediscovering) this month’s pick!