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 June 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!
|Tina Turner – Tina Turns the Country On (1974)|
Country music has a pretty shameful history when it comes to diversity and inclusion, to put it mildly. That is unfortunate in many ways, including because country music is a big tent that emerged from the jazz scene’s focus on live instrumentation and mixed with blues, folk, bluegrass, and the rural America of the 30s and 40s. Last year around this time, the country music world (and the Billboard charts) got upended by Old Town Road, a song by up-and-comer Lil Nas X that blended rap with country music and (after a brief Billboard chart saga) 90s country crooner Billy Ray Cyrus. Lil Nas X’s success is thanks in part to artists like “hick-hop” creator Cowboy Troy (a topic we’ll revisit next month), Charley Pride and, this month’s pick, Tina Turner and her 1974 album Tina Turns the Country On. Yes, that Tina Turner. Turner released her debut solo album just after the peak of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue’s success. The stellar effort was more reminiscent of the music of her youth than that of the Revue. Unfortunately, while it did garner a Grammy nomination, the album was not a commercial success. That would come later for Turner.
The album opens with Bayou Song, a ballad that bridges the divide between the funk and soul of the Revue and this album. The real standouts are her two covers of Bob Dylan tracks: “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You,” with an authentic country sound and Turner’s incredible vocals shining through. Her second Dylan cover, “He Belongs To Me” is the best track on the album, a blend of country and soul that shows that the former Anna Mae Bullock from rural Tennessee could have had some real success in country music. In addition to Bob Dylan, Turner covers songs from Kris Kristofferson, Olivia Newton-John, James Taylor, and Dolly Parton.
Two years after this release, Tina filed for divorce from Ike. Of course, she reached even greater success as a solo artist in the 80s with hits like “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” However, this album endures as a monument to Turner’s talents, and perhaps a missed opportunity for country music. Despite its cult status, even over 40 years later female country artists like Margo Price continue to cite it as influential. Sadly, the album is not available on any of the streaming services. You can only find it on vinyl (well worth the purchase if you can find it!) and on YouTube where someone has curated some reasonable quality turntable recordings of this 10-song masterpiece.
I hope you enjoy (or enjoy rediscovering) this month’s pick!