(Editor’s note: I moved from an apartment into a house starting January 1st, 2020, and I had to toss all my CDs into a big garbage bag during the move. The idea for this feature is I write a review about each CD as I unpack that bag, one CD at a time, and rank them.)
The ninth CD out of the bag
1. Swingin’; 2. Wasted Days And Wasted Nights; 3. The Only Mama That’ll Walk The Line; 4. I Can’t Be Myself; 5. 16 Tons; 6. Help Me Make It Through The Night; 7. Rose Colored Glasses; 8. A Good Hearted Woman; 9. When I Call Your Name; 10. He Stopped Loving Her Today; 11. Blue; 12. The Bottle Let Me Down; 13. Crazy Women; 14. Give.
From the rowdy “Swingin'” to the weeper “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” LeAnn Rimes delivers an outstanding set of country music cover songs on the 2011 album, Lady & Gentleman. Rimes tackles classic songs originally performed by top male singers from the past like Tennessee Ernie Ford, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard. And she nails every single one of them with her amazing vocals. Her voice stuns on the more stripped-down versions of songs, especially tearjerkers “I Can’t Be Myself” and “When I Call Your Name.” The George Jones version of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is forever the definitive performance of that song, but damn if Rimes doesn’t give it a run for its money. She’s even flawless on more macho outlaw country tunes like “The Only Mama That’ll Walk the Line” and “A Good Hearted Woman.” Rimes also outdoes herself with a superior version of her debut 1996 hit, “Blue.” This album’s a reminder that Rimes remains not only one of the best female singers in country music, but one of the best, period.
My favorite song
My favorite song is “Rose Colored Glasses” with that killer first line. John Conlee’s piano-laced original is beautifully heartbreaking, while Rimes’ cover is heartbreakingly beautiful. The Rimes version is kissed by steel guitar, and her vocal effortlessly conveys the disillusionment in the lyrics. I listened to both versions back to back. The song ends with the narrators laying aside their rose-colored glasses, but Conlee’s is sadder with the realization of the truth. I think the difference is that Conlee sounds brokenhearted and Rimes sounds disappointed. Either way, what an awesome song.
My favorite lines of my favorite song
I don’t know why I keep on believing you need me
When you’ve proved so many times that it ain’t true.