Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: T.G. Sheppard, “Slow Burn”

“Slow Burn”

T.G. Sheppard

Written by Charlie Black and Tommy Rocco

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

January 6, 1984


#1 (1 week)

January 14, 1984

We’ve talked quite a bit in this feature about the impact of Jimmy Bowen as a producer, and how even veteran artists benefited from his approach in the studio.

Looks like it’s time to talk about Jim Ed Norman.

“Slow Burn” is so much better than every previous T.G. Sheppard single we’ve covered that I couldn’t quite believe it was the same artist.  This was Sheppard’s first single with Norman as producer, and it followed an agonizingly awful cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Without You” that only went top twenty.  

Sheppard’s strengths as a vocalist finally shine through, and he’s finally found a song that is sensual without being seedy.  The lyric calls for an understated performance, and he delivers, sometimes dropping down to a whisper as he talks about a flame that never burns out, even as they take it slow.

The musicianship is stellar and Norman’s arrangement amplifies the lyric and gives Sheppard the necessary room to deliver it.  It’s got such a cool groove, reminiscent of Conway Twitty’s cover of “Slow Hand.” 

It’s a reminder that for a record to fire on all cylinders, you need to hit the trifecta: a good song, a good singer, and a good producer.  For the first time in this feature, I’m actually looking forward to the next T.G. Sheppard entry. 

“Slow Burn” gets a B+.   

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. My favorite T.G song! The groove just puts me in such a good mood! Great production Jim Ed! Jim also was the first producer to bring Janie Fricke to the forefront of Country though Bob Montgomery is more associated with her most successful years!

  2. Maybe I have given in to dark side of hatred and anger with T.G. Sheppard, but I don’t hear the growth or development here. There is a seductive dirty groove, but he was always able to consistently drop his needle into that with his his earlier hits as well.

    Many of his songs were ear-worms.

    I hear more warmed over Eddie Rabbitt than Conway Twitty on this one. It very much sounds like a flaccid ’80’s country ballad.

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