Retro Single Review: George Strait, "If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')"

1988 | Peak: #1

Strait’s fifteenth #1 single, and eighth in a row, was a cover of a #2 Faron Young hit from 1954.

It features Strait singing in such an exaggerated twang that the entire proceedings feel more campy than country.  You’re much better off sticking to the original, which is an entertaining representative of the country music from that time.

It’s a testament

to Strait’s star power that he got this to go higher on the chart the second time around, but I can’t imagine he recorded it with the idea that it was anything more than album filler.

Written by Tommy Collins

Grade: B-

Next: Baby’s Gotten Good at Goodbye

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  1. I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard this one, but the title reminds me of “Living and Living Well,” which is easily one of my favorite songs of his.

  2. I never thought of this as campy. At least no more so than “The Fireman” or “All My Ex’s Live In Texas”. I do agree the vocal inflections seem forced into a Texas twang more than they need to be. Still, it will always be an essential Strait single for me.

  3. I enjoy this one, but “All My Ex’s” and “The Fireman” are sooooo much better in my mind. To me, “If You Ain’t Lovin” is kinda fun, but the lyrics are ultra-cliche and not all that interesting. I don’t mind the bogus twang too much. “Ex’s” and “Fireman” are just more fun because the lyrics are actually make me laugh. Of course, nobody should model their life after the characters in those two songs!

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