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[CD Cover, 9k JPEG, from CDnow] Dixie Chicks: Shouldn't A Told You That
Track-by-track Review

The last release on the independent Crystal Clear label, Laura Lynch said Shouldn't A Told You That was supposed to be the album "without any bluegrass songs." But they just couldn't help it, as the title track itself shows. Despite this, Shouldn't A is the most "commercial" of the three indie discs -- and could yet be the source of more than a handful of top 10 hits.

Side 1

  1. Whistles And Bells (3:01)
    Radney Foster and Cindy Bullens

    It was a big deal when this album came out that co-writer Radney Foster had let the Chicks include this song. It just might benefit from Natalie's "attitude" on lines like these:

    Sound Sample (0:00 - 0:35, 253K) *4
    Whistles and bells won't ever bring you love and happiness
    She's never going to give her heart the way that I would give
    She's got you running 'round in circles, I can tell
    With her lights, buzzers, whistles and bells.

  2. I'm Falling Again (3:26)
    Martie Erwin, Emily Erwin, Laura Lynch and Matthew Benjamin

    The Chicks showed that they can rock with songs like There's Your Trouble, then turned around and brought tears to fans' eyes with You Were Mine, written by the Erwin sisters. I'm Falling Again is the flip side of You Were Mine in a way -- an upbeat yet tender love song. Would Natalie be a bit too much for this song? We may never know... the song was co-written by all three Dixie Chicks and former guitarist Matthew Benjamin -- securing permission could be tricky.

  3. Shouldn't A Told You That (3:05)
    Mike Hiatt

    While the songs on Wide Open Spaces don't tread too deeply into bluegrass territory, Natalie is perfectly capable of giving a twangy song its due. For a great example, listen to the sample of Til I See You Again from the 1997 Nashville Summer Lights festival (on my Treats page). Apply that sound to this song, and don't drown out Emily's fiddle with that overblown percussion, and you've got a hit -- even if Nat's version won't have the softly teasing sound of Laura's.

    Sound Sample (0:00 - 0:30, 219K) *4
    Well, he told me that he was tired of being good
    And he told me that she don't treat him like she should
    Well, he told me when he'd be alone
    He told me how long she'd be gone
    I'm only human... he shouldn't a told me that!

  4. Desire (3:32)
    Kim Richey and Steve Kolander

    This is my favorite song on the album, so it's hard to be objective. I'm not sure Natalie can give it the emotional impact -- the guilt of an unexpected affair, the consequences that would follow from the playfulness in Shouldn't A Told You That. But look at the emotion that she poured into You Were Mine -- its success may give her the confidence to deliver that punch.

  5. There Goes My Dream (3:32)
    Jamie O'Hare

    Natalie likes to "rock it." This song is as far away from a rockin' song as can be... it's not my favorite anyway, and I think Nat would be bored stiff trying to sing it.

Side 2

  1. One Heart Away (3:35)
    Matthew Benjamin and Tom Van Schaik

    I don't know if the "New Chicks" would lean towards this song. It's another Laura special, a song where the woman is trying to convince her man to make that leap -- "Our love is only one heart away." I think Natalie is more likely to grab that man and tell him how it's gonna be! Besides, it's written by Matthew Benjamin and former drummer Tom Van Schaik (now playing with Dallas party animal Robert Earl Keen) so the rights may be tough to get.

  2. The Thrill Is In The Chase (3:10)
    Laura Lynch and Dave Peters

    I've called this song "superficial," and it's still not as deep as other songs by the New or Old Chicks. Even though Laura co-wrote it, it just seems to need a little something more -- possibly a touch of work by Robin Lynn Macy would have done the trick. If it was theirs to tweak, I'd look for Natalie, Martie, or Emily to do some work on it, and Laura would certainly let them... but I don't know whether Dave Peters, who played mandolin with the Chicks on Thank Heavens For Dale Evans, would cotton to the idea.

  3. I Wasn't Looking For You (3:29)
    Matthew Benjamin

    This song is always a favorite of "New Chicks" fans because they know the lead singer -- Martie Seidel. It's the only cut on which either sister sings lead, and the vocals are just beautiful. But when they were touring for the album, poor Martie just did not look (or sound) comfortable singing lead on stage. If Natalie applied the same touch to this song that she does to I'll Take Care Of You, she should be able to match Martie's effort... but since Matthew Benjamin is the sole writer, she'll have to have her people call his people first.

  4. I've Only Got Myself To Blame (3:24)
    Tony Lane

    Like the title track, this is one of those bluegrass songs that just couldn't be denied. If Natalie will take the plunge (and if Emily and Martie are allowed to shine), this could be the biggest hit of all.

  5. Planet Of Love / Boo Hoo (5:02)
    Jim Lauderdale and John Leventhal

    (Boo Hoo is only available on CD, and is tacked on to the end of the final track.)

    Like Pink Toenails, Planet Of Love is a Laura special -- a seductive and softly teasing song sung by a woman to her lover. Natalie is just not that kind of singer -- her style is to grab that man, not slyly tease him over. And the lyrics have that "hoky" sound if you just read them straight -- not everyone can make them sound luscious and inviting like Laura could. It's interesting to note, though, that it's co-written by Jim Lauderdale, who sings on the latest Deryl Dodd release -- the one on which Martie Seidel plays fiddle. In fact, in 1999, Martie returned the favor by penning a track for Lauderdale's new release. See the Discography for details.

    The hidden track Boo Hoo is a short little ditty that likely won't ever be on the radio, but would make a great bonus track on any future disc. If you've heard the Chicks play bouncy tunes like Roly Poly or Big Balls In Cowtown, you'll have an idea of the fun they can have when they let their Western side show. In fact, you'll can hear the Chicks sing Roly Poly for yourself... see the Chicks addition to a 1999 Bob Wills tribute in the Discography.

Album Notes

For the "thank yous", see the Liner Notes page.

The Band

  • Laura Lynch
    Lead Vocals, Bass, Harmony Vocals on I Wasn't Looking for You

  • Martie Erwin
    Fiddle, Harmony Vocals, Lead Vocal on I Wasn't Looking for You

  • Emily Erwin
    Banjo, Dobro, Guitar, Bass, Harmony Vocals

  • Tom VanSchaik
    Drums and Percussion

  • Matthew Benjamin
    Acoustic and Electric Guitars

Special Guests

  • Lloyd Maines
    Steel Guitar
    [Note: in the liner notes, his name is spelled "Lloyd Mains"! -rb]

  • Bob Gentry

  • Joan Besen

  • Steve Fishell
    Acoustic Guitar, Dobro on The Thrill is in the Chase

  • Harry Stinson
    Harmony Vocals on Whistles and Bells

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