Sunday, February 2, 2014


This is a deluxe reissue of Williams' 1988 album, her breakout release after some smaller label efforts that built her reputation.  The real success came not from her own tracks, but from the hit cover of her Passionate Kisses, by Mary Chapin Carpenter.  Form then on, Williams' skill as a songwriter was never in doubt.  Plus, this is a grand album, one of her two best, along with Car Wheels On A Gravel Road.

Those familiar with Williams in the 90's and beyond will find her a younger, gentler singer, her voice not so raspy, her edge not yet developed.  But she was still a solid writer, her material perhaps a little more easily digested.  The songs were easy to take in, the love songs intense, the heartache fresh and young, not damaged as she'd be able to transmit later.  Her characters are hurt but hopeful, like the small-town waitress who gets out of town for a wider world in The Night's Too Young.  I Just Want To See You So Bad is plenty powerful, about a woman who would drive all night to meet her lover.  What really makes this such a winning collection is the tight, upbeat arrangements, with lots of hooks, easily her most accessible work.  If she had stayed the course, more commercial hits might have followed.

This is the second time the disc has been reissued with bonus tracks, the first as a single disc with six extra cuts from radio sessions.  Now, it's a double-disc, complete with a full live concert, and a darn good one.  The same band on the album proves a rockier bunch live, and just as tight.  Nicely, the set includes the same old bonus tracks from the other version, so we don't lose anything.  It's one of those discs you'll go back to all the time

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