“Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight”
The Oak Ridge Boys
Written by Donivan Cowart and Rodney Crowell
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
January 25, 1980
#1 (1 week)
February 9, 1980
No less than three No. 1 country hits in the early eighties were Emmylou Harris covers, an artist who will be featured multiple times in the eighties with her own covers of previously recorded material.
“Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” is a highlight of Harris’ Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town album. It’s a spectacularly written song about a girl named Mary who runs off with a traveling man, with her irate father following close behind them. Co-written by Rodney Crowell, who will also appear multiple times as a songwriter and a recording artist, the Harris version is plainly adorned.
In their hit version, the Oak Ridge Boys opt for a busier production that leans hard into Cajun instrumentation, and they increase the song’s tempo by a decent amount. Because of hits like “Y’all Come Back Saloon,” “Elvira,” and “Bobbie Sue,” it’s hard not to hear most Oak Ridge Boys efforts as being novelty records, but they play it somewhat straight here, letting the lyric do most of the heavy lifting early on. I guess you can’t have an Oak Ridge Boys record without those four part harmonies, regardless of whether they service the song by being there. Once they kick in after the first verse, they weigh everything down, robbing the song of some of its charm.
Still, as Oak Ridge Boys records go, this is pretty good. We’ll be seeing quite a bit of these boys in this feature.
“Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” gets a B.
Previous: Kenny Rogers, “Coward of the County” |