Friday, May 27, 2011

The #74 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era: "In Pieces" by Garth Brooks

We are counting down the top albums in the history of rock. We are presenting one each day so we can talk about it and give it the due it deserves. We are up to #74. The great album In Pieces became one of a select few when it debuted at #1--It remained there for five weeks.  It spent 76 weeks on the chart, just short of a year and a half, and has sold eight million copies so far.  In Pieces was also #1 in Canada and Australia.  The consistent album posted a Track Rating of 8.95.

Six singles made the country chart including two #1's, but don't confuse that with overall #1's.  Brooks did not make the Top 40 with any of his songs from this album.  That said, there are a few that should have been and radio blew it there.  Although his voice sounds country (and the lyrics definitely still are written about country life), make no mistake--Garth Brooks single-handedly changed his genre to sound more like rock and roll than traditional country and artists galore followed suit to this day.  That is why the album was so well received.  It struck a chord with everyone, even if perhaps they didn't ever relate to anything a "country" artist had ever done.  The singles were "Ain't Goin Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up)", "American Honky-Tonk Bar Association", "Standing Outside the Fire", "One Night a Day", "Callin' Baton Rouge" and "The Red Strokes".  
The lyrics are amazing, the music is compelling and the production tight.  I absolutely love his style and I'm certainly not unique--he is one of a kind, a living legend in our time.  He not only is far and away the top "country" artist of all-time but one of the five or ten top artists of all-time period.  This is a must-have album for nearly everyone (I can certainly tell you I am not a country music fan but that said, this is one of my favorite albums ever.)  The singles mentioned above are all solid--I particularly like "The Night I Called the Old Man Out", "Callin' Baton Rouge" and "Ain't Goin' Down" (which features an incredible harmonica solo by Terry McMillan at the end.  However, "The Night Will Only Know" may be the best song on the album.  "The Red Strokes" sounds eerily like something Dan Fogelberg would have done.  "Kickin' and Screamin'" is another great track that only Brooks can give us and he does a fantastic job on "The Cowboy Song".  You may have different favorites but there's bound to be several cuts that appeal to you.  

Brooks won the Academy of Country Music Award for Entertainer of the Year for his work on In Pieces.

In Pieces:
1.    "Standing Outside the Fire" (Jenny Yates, Garth Brooks) – 3:52
2.    "The Night I Called the Old Man Out" (Pat Alger, Kim Williams, Brooks) – 3:12
3.    "American Honky-Tonk Bar Association" (Bryan Kennedy, Jim Rushing) – 3:33
4.    "One Night a Day" (Gary Burr, Pete Wasner) – 4:15
5.    "Kickin' and Screamin'" (Tony Arata) – 4:02
6.    "Ain't Goin' Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up)" (Kent Blazy, Williams, Brooks) – 4:33
7.    "The Red Strokes" (James Garver, Lisa Sanderson, Yates, Brooks) – 3:44
8.    "Callin' Baton Rouge" (Dennis Linde) – 2:38
9.    "The Night Will Only Know" (Stephanie Davis, Yates, Brooks) – 3:55
10.  "The Cowboy Song" (Roy Robinson) – 3:59

Chris Leuzinger, Ty England, Pat Flynn and Mark Casstevens played acoustic guitar on the album; Chris also played electric guitar while England helped out with background vocals.  Steve McClure played electric and steel guitars and Bruce Bouton helped out Brooks on steel guitar.  Rob Hajacos played fiddle, Bela Fleck played banjo, Sam Bush played mandolin, fiddle, and helped with background vocals, Jerry Douglas was on the dobro and Terry McMillan played harmonica.  Jim Horn was on sax, Bobby Wood played piano and keyboards, Boby Emmons played the Hammond B-3 organ, Mike Chapman and Roy Huskey, Jr. were the bass guitarists for this album, Mike Palmer and Milton Sledge played drums and percussion while Sam Bacco and Ferrell Morris contributed percussion.  Trisha Yearwood, John Cowan, Helen Darling, Kathy Chiavola and the New Grass Revival sang backup vocals.

In Pieces was recorded at Jack's Track's Recording Studio.  The producer was Allen Reynolds and the album was remastered by Denny Purcell at Georgetown Masters in Nashville, Tennessee.  The album was released August 31, 1993 on Liberty Records.

At #74 for All-Time, In Pieces from Garth Brooks.

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