“Fourteen Carat Mind”
Written by Dallas Frazier and Larry Lee
#1 (1 week)
January 9, 1982
Gene Watson had an extraordinary career, chock full of hits throughout the seventies and eighties. However, he only had one No. 1 hit on each chart. “Paper Rosie” topped the Radio & Records listing in 1977, and “Fourteen Carat Mind” topped the Billboard chart in 1982.
“Fourteen Carat Mind” is representative of everything that he did best in the recording studio. Released in the peak of the Urban Cowboy era, Watson remained stubbornly country, with the track being driven by honky tonk piano and top notch steel guitar.
The song about a gold digging woman breezes right by, as Watson recounts everything that he’s bought for her with his sawmill salary. He should be bitter, but he sounds like he’s getting a kick out of her sheer audacity, while also enjoying that she moved on to bankrupting someone else after all of his money was gone.
It’s possible that Watson was underappreciated because he changed labels so many times, despite his remarkable consistency: he released top ten records for Capitol, MCA, Epic, and Warner Bros. over the course of fourteen years.
Still, he’s maintained enough popularity that even some of his independent records on his own Fourteen Carat label sold well enough to chart in the 2010s, and he received critical acclaim for his collaborative album with Rhonda Vincent, Your Money and My Good Looks.
We won’t see him again in the eighties, but we will get to write about him down the road when we cover the seventies.
In the meantime, try to catch a show. He’s currently doing an 80 date tour in celebration of his 80th birthday.
There aren’t too many legends from this era left, folks. Enjoy them while you still can.
“Fourteen Carat Mind” gets an A.