Thursday, January 2, 2014

Alabama - Roll On

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Roll On, the fifth studio album from country artists Alabama. This multi-Platinum selling 1984 release went to number 37 in Canada, number 21 on the US Billboard Album chart, and number 1 on the US Billboard Country chart.

Side one begins with the title track. The mid-tempo “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)”, written by 70’s singer-songwriter Dave Loggins, tells the story of a trucker and his family. As the first single, it hit number 1 on the Country charts in both Canada and the US.

The gentle ballad “Carolina Mountain Dewe” was the B-side to the second single.

The last word in the title of the next track “The End of the Lyin’” takes on two meanings. It takes the actual definition of the spelled word as well as a homophone to the word “line”. Put together, the woman’s deceptions are leading to the end of the relationship.

The B-side to the third single was “I’m Not That Way Anymore”. Featured on the album is a live performance of the song from the Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas.

“If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)”, the third single, hit number 1 on both the US and Canadian Country charts. The album version opens with a simple piano accompaniment of “The Eyes of Texas”, written in 1903. It then picks up to a rousing country rhythm in three-quarter time, complete with a fiddle solo of course.

Side two starts with “(There’s a) Fire in the Night”. As the fourth single, it went to number 1 on both the US and Canadian Country charts.

The second single was the romantic ballad “When We Make Love”; it went to number 72 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 8 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, number 3 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart, and number 1 on both the Canadian and US Country charts.

“Country Side of Life” has a bit of a funky vibe to it thanks to the lead guitar of Jeff Cook. He also takes lead vocals on the track.

Teddy Gentry brings his deep vocals to the lullaby “The Boy”. It captures that special feeling of being a father.

“Food on the Table” is the closing track and the B-side to the first single. Written by Randy Owen, it tells of growing up in a home where money was tight but the parents were mindful to get their children all the necessities.

Since I was not into a lot of country music during my college years, I completely missed Roll On when it came out in 1984. Listening to it for the first time for this review, I found it to be another good album from Alabama.

For the band's 1982 release Mountain Music, click here.

For their 1983 album The Closer You Get, click here.

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