Lorrie Morgan Starter Kit

Lorrie MorganAmidst her generation of successful female country artists, Lorrie Morgan was the only one who was clearly from the tradition of heartbreak queen Tammy Wynette, with a healthy dose of Jeannie Seely in the mix.  With her contemporaries far more shaped by the work of Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, Morgan was instrumental in keeping the sound of female country from the sixties still relevant in the nineties.

While Morgan never earned the critical acclaim or industry accolades of peers like Patty Loveless and Pam Tillis, she was immensely popular with country fans, able to sell gold with albums that radio largely ignored. She was the first female country artist to have her first three studio albums go platinum, with three additional albums going gold and a hits collection selling double platinum.

Many of Morgan’s best recordings were never sent to radio, and those interested in discovering her in depth should seek out her finest studio albums, Greater Need and Show Me How.

But her singles were pretty good too, with these being the most essential.

Ten Essential Tracks:

“Dear Me”
from the 1989 album Leave the Light On

This song broke through just as news of the death of Keith Whitley, Morgan’s husband, became known. She was unfairly accused of capitalizing on his death with this release, as people both misinterpreted the song’s meaning and apparently ignored the fact that it had gone to radio weeks before his death.

“We Both Walk”
from the 1991 album Something in Red

One of her more cutting performances. She refuses to let her roving man come back home, because when he leaves, he walks away and she walks the floor.

“Something in Red”
from the 1991 album Something in Red

Her signature hit is the tale of a woman’s life through conversations while shopping for clothes. Amazingly poignant, especially given the conceit of the song.

“What Part of No”
from the 1992 album Watch Me

“Back off, buddy,” is the message of Morgan’s biggest chart hit, which topped the charts for three weeks.

“I Guess You Had to Be There”
from the 1992 album Watch Me

Buy on iTunes

In my opinion, Morgan’s finest performance from her platinum years. When this was on the radio at the same time as Pam Tillis’ “Do You Know Where Your Man Is”, it was the next best thing to having Tammy Wynette back in heavy rotation.

“If You Came Back From Heaven”
from the 1994 album War Paint

Buy on iTunes

Morgan finally addressed Whitley’s death in song with this self-penned ballad.

“I Didn’t Know My Own Strength”
from the 1995 album Greatest Hits

Buy on iTunes

Her third and final #1 hit was an empowering anthem that topped the charts just as women were becoming the dominant commercial force in country music.

“I Just Might Be”
from the 1996 album Greater Need

This breezy single is cutting with its casual indifference.

“Good As I Was to You”
from the 1996 album Greater Need

The best of her power ballads finds her confronting her cheating husband as he dines with his mistress.

“Do You Still Want to Buy Me That Drink (Frank)”
from the 2004 album Show Me How

This single mom finally gets a night out, but before she moves forward with the man who is looking to hook up with her, she makes clear she’s part of a package deal.

Two Hidden Treasures:

“Greater Need”
from the 1996 album Greater Need

The title track of her finest RCA album is painfully vulnerable, as she realizes that she’s always the one with the greater need in her relationships.

“Don’t Worry Baby”
from the 1996 Beach Boys album Stars and Stripes Vol. 1

Buy on iTunes

Morgan’s take on this Beach Boys classic completely changes the point of view of the song, giving it an added passion along with greater desperation.

Amazon Bonus Tracks:

Since the Amazon store doesn’t carry a handful of Morgan’s key hits, a few extra cuts are included to help round out the Starter Kit for those who don’t care for the iTunes store:

“Out of Your Shoes”
from the 1989 album Leave the Light On

A sad but sweet #2 hit which finds a woman looking on as he best friend goes home with the man that she wants for her own.

“Except For Monday”
from the 1991 album Something in Red

One of those catchy little numbers that can make any young kid a country fan in three minutes. Play Alan Jackson’s “Little Bitty” right after and they’ll be hooked for life.

“By My Side” (with Jon Randall)
from the 1996 album Greater Need

Her duet with then-husband was a top twenty hit. They sounded great together.

“I Can Count On You”
from the 2004 album Show Me How

The contrast between the pure tone of Pam’s voice makes Johnny’s spoken bridge sound all the more authoritative. It’s like a singing angel surrounding the voice of God.


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13 Comments

Filed under Back to the Nineties, Starter Kits

13 Responses to Lorrie Morgan Starter Kit

  1. I’ve always thought Lorrie Morgan was an exceptionally consistent artist. As Kevin mentioned above, she kept the tradition of country music alive while remaining contempoaray and relevant. I think it’s a shame she’s largely forgotten today since it was just a little more than a decade ago when she was still a major force in country music. And while it’s true that Lorrie Morgan never won any awards from the two major country awards organizations, she was definitey a fan-favorite. She took home the fan-voted TNN Music City News Awards for Female Artist of the Year in 1994, 96, 97, and 98 – at a time when country music was busting at the seams with talented female singers.

    I would have added ‘Five Minutes’ and ‘Standing Tall’ to the list too.

  2. Paul DennisNo Gravatar

    I never really got into Lorrie’s music. I liked a lot of it, with “Half Enough” being my favorite of her songs (followed by “Except For Monday”), but I always thought she would have been better off working the A/C market.

    Her Christmas album with the LSO is one of my favorite Christmas records and gets played every December

  3. SheldonNo Gravatar

    Glad you are bringing Lorrie back in the spotlight – One of my favorites was an album cut “I’ve Enjoyed as Much as I can Stand”

    “I Just Might Be” should have been a big hit – I remember hearing it on the radio and thinking she has a hit on her hands…I was wrong (again) but any of you reading this that haven’t heard it, try finding it – you’ll like it

    “Exit 99″ was a great ablum cut that should have been a single as well – give it a listen too…

  4. MichaelNo Gravatar

    Nice to see some of the singles from War Paint and her Greatest Hits CD as well as “I Just Might Be” on this list. Nice job! :)

  5. ScottNo Gravatar

    Great job…im glad to see someone recognizing the woefully underrated “If you came back from Heaven”

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  7. JoeBNo Gravatar

    All excellent songs. I’ve always loved “Standing Tall” and “Heart Over Mind,” too.

  8. “I never really got into Lorrie’s music. I liked a lot of it, with “Half Enough” being my favorite of her songs (followed by “Except For Monday”), but I always thought she would have been better off working the A/C market.”

    I always liked her music a lot. She usually included a cover of at least one classic country song on each album, and they were usually the highlight of the album. She’s one of the few country artists from the 90s or the current decade who has a true appreciation for country’s heritage. Unlike many of those who came after her, she was in country music because she loved it and that was where she wanted to be, not because a suit somewhere decided that’s where she would be most marketable.

  9. Music ManNo Gravatar

    Kevin said: “Lorrie Morgan was the only one who was clearly from the tradition of heartbreak queen Tammy Wynette, with a healthy dose of Jeannie Seely in the mix.”

    Speaking of Jeannie Seely, on Lorrie’s “WarPaint” album there is an excellent cover of “Don’t Touch Me”. Listen to Jeannie’s original then Lorrie’s cover, they sound amazing alike.

    Also there is Lorrie’s album of torch song standards and other love songs “Secret Love” that is an forgotten gem in her repertoire.

  10. James S.No Gravatar

    Great list. I’m also a fan of Lorrie Morgan’s classic country style voice. I’m glad you included, “I Just Might Be.” I didn’t even know that it was a single, since my stations never played it. It should have been a big hit for sure. “I Guess You Had To Be There,” “What Part Of No,” “We Both Walk,” “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” and “Out Of Your Shoes” are other favorites here. I’d also add “Five Minutes,” “Heart Over Mind” and “One Of Those Nights Tonight.”

    I’d have to say Greater Need is my favorite Lorrie Morgan album, with other great cuts like “Back Among The Living,” “Don’t Stop In My World,” and “Reading My Heart.”

    “Don’t Touch Me” from War Paint is another fine performance along with “You Can’t Take That” and “I’ve Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand” from 1997′s Shakin’ Things Up.

    This really makes me miss hearing the 90′s female singers on the radio. Keep up the great work, guys! I love this feature.

  11. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Greater Need is my favorite Morgan album too, I think. It has some really good stuff on it.

  12. Joseph BNo Gravatar

    I would have to add Lorrie Morgan’s You Think He’d Know Me Better from the Shakin Things Up album. i still listen to that cd

  13. I just happened to find this old post from before I discovered Country Universe, and I just had to comment on the irony of Kevin mentioning the ability of “Except for Monday” to “make any young kid a country fan in three minutes.”

    I was a young kid when I first heard and fell in love with that song, so apparently that’s exactly what the song did for me!

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