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18 Sep 2016

Alabama “Mountain Music” 1982 US Country Rock , Southern Rock

Alabama “Mountain Music” 1982 US Country Rock , Southern Rock
On their third album, 1982’s Mountain Music, Alabama hit their stride, streamlining the rough edges out of their sound and turning into a well-oiled hit machine. Here, when they stretch out it’s on the nearly seven-minute “Changes Comin’ On,” which doesn’t jam like Southern rock but instead has a smooth groove that veers close to soft rock. Of course, that soft rock quality was not only a large reason why Alabama crossed over to the pop charts (“Take Me Down,” one of three number one country singles here – the other two being the anthemic title cut and “Close Enough to Perfect” – crossed over into the pop Top 20, which is no small feat), it was also instrumental in defining the group’s own brand of “mountain music.” If their country music didn’t sound too down-home – it didn’t twang, it didn’t have mandolins, it was built on electric guitars – it was nevertheless pure country in its own modern way, borrowing on Western mythos (“Words at Twenty Paces” has an implied swagger, even if it is never menacing) and early Americana-rock (a strong cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Green River”), playing up both sentiment (both the slow devotional “You Turn Me On” and the family celebration “Never Be One”) and revelry (“Gonna Have a Party”) to create the template for contemporary country. If there’s just a touch too much of the slow stuff here, it’s all expertly executed and almost all the songs click, with the best (all the aforementioned tracks, minus “Never Be One”) standing among the band’s best material, helping to make Mountain Music not only one of their best albums, but a record that – despite its big, slick production – still sounds like modern country even decades after its initial release. …by allmusic… 

There is little doubt that Alabama remain one of the most popular recording artists of the 20th century. From the late 1970s to the mid 1990s the Fort Payne four piece enjoyed total worldwide album sales of over 50 million, 33 Billboard Country And Western Number 1s, and were duly elected for the Country Music Hall Of Fame in late 2005 for their services and successes in their relevant genre. Not bad for a band who in the true sense of the word, aren’t strictly C & W. One would describe their music as gentle Southern Rock, drawing more influences from Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Eagles, as there are no Steel Guitars and the Rhythms used on their recordings are genuinely rock based. Their 3rd original release, “Mountain Music” from 1982 remains the bands’ biggest selling and probably most fondly remembered recording. 
One of the major difficulties with country music in general is its inability to cross over into mainstream consciousness. Sometimes the genre seems so very insular, appealing to a distinct type of fan. Alabama generally attempt to cross those boundaries, with the warm, easy production style, the popular vocal harmonies, but more importantly song writing that veers as close to mainstream without losing its generic edge. For the best examples of success, catch the opener and title track “Mountain Music”, “Take Me Down”, and “Close Enough To Perfect” which all work perfectly. The song writing unfortunately isn’t consistent and songs like “You Turn Me On” with its laughable spoken vocal interlude from Randy Owen, and the sickly sweet ode to a small child “Never Be One” shows a band who trying way way too hard to appeal to their feminine side and should have been left in their minds, and never committed to vinyl. 

“Mountain Music” is a satisfying piece of Country Rock, and although never truly memorable, is an interesting lead into a band who remain one of country’s most popular acts….by THE HACKSKEPTIC’S VIEW … 

A1 Mountain Music 4:08 
A2 Close Enough to Perfect 3:33 
A3 Words at Twenty Paces 3:50 
A4 Changes Comin’ On 6:47 
A5 Green River 2:48 
B1 Take Me Down 4:50 
B2 You Turn Me On 3:07 
B3 Never Be One 2:42 
B4 Lovin’ You Is Killin’ Me 2:56 
B5 Gonna Have a Party 4:07 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..