When Rodney Crowell had his gold-selling commercial breakthrough with the album Diamonds & Dirt, his previous label was quick to capitalize on his success. Usually, pre-hit cash-in CDs are little more than a curiosity, but Crowell’s is the exception.
There is a smorgasbord of great material here, including early versions of songs that Crowell would see other artists have success with the same songs.
Some of Crowell’s strongest compositions are here, such as:
- “‘Til I Gain Control Again”, a #1 hit for Crystal Gayle that was recorded earlier by Emmylou Harris
- “I Ain’t Living Long Like This”, a #1 hit for Waylon Jennings that was recorded earlier by Emmylou Harris
- “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight”, a #1 hit for the Oak Ridge Boys that was recorded earlier by Emmylou Harris
- “Ashes By Now”, a top five hit for Lee Ann Womack that was recorded earlier by Emmylou Harris
- “I Don’t Have to Crawl”, a minor hit for Emmylou Harris that was later recorded by Rosanne Cash
- “Shame on the Moon”, a top fifteen country hit for Bob Seeger
- “Victim or a Fool”, a top forty hit for Crowell that was also recorded by Crystal Gayle
- “Stars on the Water”, later covered by George Strait and Jimmy Buffett
How good was this guy’s ear? Even the songs he didn’t write went on to become hits, with Ricky Skaggs taking “Heartbroke” to #1 and Juice Newton scoring a massive pop hit with “Queen of Hearts.” The only thing missing here is “Elvira”, which Crowell also recorded first.
This has always been a budget collection, but now it’s incredibly affordable – twelve tracks for $5.49. Given that Warner is asking for $9.90 for the far inferior Pam Tillis Collection, which includes only ten tracks, this one’s a steal.
I purchase several of Rodney’s albums befre he finally hit it big with DIAMONDS AND DIRT. I always felt that he should make it, although it took a while, and I was surprised that his stay at the top was so short. The hard country trappings of DIAMNONDS AND DIRT suited his voice extremely well
A correction – “Elvira” was first recorded by its writer , the legendary Dallas Frazier, back in 1966 (the album has been in my collection since about 1968). Also Kenny Rogers & The First Edition recorded it on their 1970 album SOMETHING’s BURNING
I wasn’t around before Diamonds and Dirt, but I did discover the wealth of Rodney Crowell’s catalog about 2 years ago. Definitely a great deal.