“She Left Love All Over Me”
Written by Chester Lester
#1 (1 week)
March 27, 1982
Razzy Bailey’s final No. 1 single starts off sounding like a T.G. Sheppard smut fest, but it quickly turns into a heartfelt tribute to a woman whose presence is lingering long after her departure.
One need only look at the title to know that this was going to be driven by an awkward metaphor, and that is what holds this one back from being a real gem. The central conceit – “she left love all over me” – just doesn’t work as well as the writer intended, so the record has to be carried by Bailey’s delivery.
He mostly connects, except for when he reaches for a George Jones wail that accomplishes nothing but establishing that Razzy Bailey is not George Jones. Can’t knock him for trying, though. He wasn’t the first country singer to fall short of that standard and he certainly won’t be the last.
But this was his last No. 1 single, and his relatively brief run as a country radio star came to an end shortly after its release. Two more top ten singles followed, and then a handful of top twenty and top forty singles after that. His final two singles to reach those marks respectively – “In the Midnight Hour” and “Knock On Wood” – were countrified covers of R&B classics.
After his 1986 MCA album Arrival failed to chart, Bailey wouldn’t release another album until 2009 – Damned Good Time. It would be the final studio album of his lifetime, and he passed away in August 2021 at the age 0f 82.
“She Left Love All Over Me” gets a B-.
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The album cover even looks like it was lifted from Sheppard’s cesspool of sleaze.
Bailey was least interesting when he reached either for countrypolitan sophistication or hard country authenticity. He was an artist best suited to a down-the-middle country fare. Based upon what we have heard from his number ones, he had a small strike zone as a vocalist.
Radio was bifurcating into pop-country and hard country. The middle was disappearing and Bailey would become a victim of that missing connective country music tissue in the middle of the decade.
If there is a lesson in this, it is that radio has a long history of suddenly moving on from succesful artists.
Thank you, Razzy Bailey for a good run.