- LP Record (Oct 17 1990)
- Format: Import
- Label: Capitol
- ASIN: B00008ETLD
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Audio Cassette
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
As an adult, I have an even greater appreciation of the songs included on this album. She Believes in Me is one of those rare ballads that speaks directly to your heart; it's a great tribute to all the women who put up with all of us men who don't deserve their love. A man doesn't want to admit he needs anything or anybody, but the love and trust of a good woman means much more than most men would ever admit. Just ask the husband of Lucille, who finds himself trying to raise four children by himself after his wife picks "a fine time to leave" him. You Decorated My Life is a beautiful homage to the miraculous life-giving power of love, and Love the World Away works the same kind of wonders. Lady, of course, is one of the greatest love songs ever recorded.
Story songs were one of Kenny Rogers' greatest strengths. Virtually everyone is familiar with the story of The Gambler. Coward of the County illustrates the point that, while you don't have to fight to become a man, sometimes you do have to fight when you are a man (especially when some ruffians hurt the woman you love). Long Arm of the Law is a rather moving song; here, a judge is determined to punish the young man who got his daughter pregnant - until the face of his new grandson softens his heart. Then there's Reuben James, who is still walking the fertile fields of our minds; there's plenty of giddy-up in this tribute to an ordinary, hard-working black man. Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town goes in yet a different direction, presenting us with an injured Vietnam veteran struggling to keep his marriage intact. This album also includes two duets. The husky-voiced Kim Carnes teams up with Kenny to deliver the energetic, pop-oriented Don't Fall In Love With a Dreamer, then the incomparable Dottie West joins Kenny for Everytime Two Worlds Collide, a classic country duet.
I'm not what you would call a country fan, but Kenny Rogers is much more than a country singer; he represents country, pop, and contemporary music all rolled up in one distinctive voice. This is a singer who still appeals to different generations of listeners. The great success Kenny Rogers enjoyed in the late 1970s and early 1980s can best be seen by his continued fame today, many years since his last bona fide hit song. Certainly, there are better, more complete Kenny Rogers collections out there than this one (which was released in 1980, after all, long before Kenny stopped releasing chart-topping hits), but I can't say anything bad about an album containing twelve songs of such high caliber and lasting appeal.