Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Tracy Lawrence, “As Any Fool Can See”

“As Any Fool Can See”

Tracy Lawrence

Written by Kenny Beard and Paul Nelson

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

March 3, 1995

Another solid hit from Tracy Lawrence.

The Road to No. 1

Lawrence continued his hot streak at radio with his third album, I See it Now.  After hitting No. 1 with the title track, Lawrence repeated the feat with the second single, which became his ninth No. 1 hit.

The No. 1

Is any artist faring better in this retrospective than Tracy Lawrence?

“As Any Fool Can See” is another great radio hit, perfectly constructed and beautifully delivered by Lawrence.  As cardboard cutout characters were beginning to dominate the radio, Lawrence remains firmly grounded in reality, with his narrator wrestling with his own culpability as his relationship begins to fade.

“She’s not here, but she’s not gone. I guess she must be waiting on the man I promised her I’d be,” he ruefully observes, as he picks up on the little signals that indicate the relationship is coming to an end.  A stray tear here, a picked fight there, as the scales slowly fall from his eyes.

I can’t help thinking that if Lawrence had been a label with more Music Row history than Atlantic, he’d have a Male Vocalist trophy on his mantle.

The Road From No. 1

His next two singles from I See it Now will also go No. 1, and we’ll cover both of them in 1995.

“As Any Fool Can See” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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Next: Clint Black, “Wherever You Go”

5 Comments

  1. Another one of my favorites from Tracy Lawrence! This is the first 1995 entry so far that reminds me of the days I was really getting back into country during that year. I always really liked hearing this one on the radio back then, and I remember it coming on during many occasions I was in the car with my dad throughout ’95 and ’96. In fact, this and the next two singles from I See It Now all pretty much reminded me of why I fell in love with Tracy as a six year old when “Sticks And Stones” came out, and they were just a few reasons why I knew I was back with country to stay this time (at least until 2004, when country radio/mainstream country started to lose me).

    This is the kind of sad mid tempo number that Lawrence has always really excelled at, and it fits his unique twangy baritone like a glove. I’ve always especially loved the fiddle parts in this song, and later in 1996, I would sometimes get it mixed up with Rick Trevino’s “Learning As You Go,” which has a similar fiddle riff. I also really like how the meaning of the song’s title changes from the start of the chorus to the end of it.

    I also like how Tracy was obviously just having a lot of fun with his videos at this point, with this being a good example. Though completely unrelated to the song, it’s still pretty fun to watch. The opening electric guitar in the song is strangely a good fit for the scene when Tracy is zapped into the pirate ship, and the parts with the girl walking the plank do give a new meaning to “She’s gonna cross that line,” lol.

    Also, good point with Tracy being on Atlantic possibly having something to do with him not reaching A-list status. Other than John Michael Montgomery winning Horizon and a few Song/Single of the year trophies, I can’t think of too many other artists on that label who were big award winners. At least Tracy did win best New Male Vocalist at the 1993 ACM’s.

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    • I feel like the Lead On hits got the same raw deal as the ones from Holding My Own. They came right before career-high singles that became powerful recurrents (“I Cross My Heart”/”Heartland”, “Check Yes or No”/”Blue Clear Sky”/”Carried Away”) and got a bit lost in the shuffle.

      This happened with Reba, too. The hits between Greatest Hits in 1987 and Rumor Has It in 1990 might as well never have happened. Five No. 1 singles that were lost to time.

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      • I’m assuming this was meant for the recent George Strait entry? ;)

        Unfortunately, George has tons of great singles that have been largely forgotten, but yeah, the Lead On singles definitely deserve more love and recognition, especially the last three.

        Some of those late 80’s Reba singles are actually some of my all time favorites from her, especially “The Last One To Know,” “I Know How He Feels,” “New Fool At An Old Game,” “Cathy’s Clown,” and “Til Love Comes Again.”

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  2. Good song that that I’m hearing for the first time. It was not included among the 17 songs on “TL, Then & Now: The Hits Collection” (2005) but made it onto “The Very Best of TL” (2007), the 11th track on a 21 song collection.

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  3. I remember thinking Lawrence was a poor man’s Alan Jackson back in the nineties,that he somehow didn’t quite measure up to the greatest of his generation. This retrospective is pointing out his consistency rivaled any of his peers.

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