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Why Not Me

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Album Review

Despite the promise of their self-titled debut album, Naomi and Wynonna Judd struck pay dirt by issuing the bona fide classic Why Not Me, their sophomore outing from 1984. It was produced by Brent Maher and recorded with a small group of session players who were chosen as carefully as the songs were. From the opening track, the title cut, written by greats Harlan Howard, Sonny Throckmorton, and Maher, it is obvious what a showcase this is for Wynonna Judd's stylized singing. Her big throaty voice rings clear and wide, pulling up every ounce of emotion from the song's root; her phrasing is perfect, and Naomi's harmonies are golden; they soar, float, and lilt in contrast, complement, and counterpoint to her daughter's lead. The elder Judd is also a fine songwriter in that track two, "Mr. Pain," is one of the finest songs on the set, full of beauty and vulnerability but ever present with hope. But it's not until track three, "Drops of Water," that the album breaks wide open. Here Wynonna proves she can sing from the rockabilly side of country as well. From her gritty lead vocal to her sweet swing-style harmony with Naomi and killer dobro runs from Sonny Garrish, the tune is irresistible. "My Baby's Gone" is another such moment, a tough, lean, bluesy shuffle graced with Andrews Sisters-styled harmonies and country guitar picking from Don Potter that turns this into a stomper. The ballads work too, however, on "Sleeping Heart" or the blues-rooted "By Bye Baby Blues," which is penned by the Howard/Throckmorton/Maher team and is country music from the Patsy Cline fake book. The elements of jazz and early-'60s countrypolitan are impossible not to remember. But that's what makes the Judds so special — they can sing it all. All they need is the material, and when they get it — and they do here in spades — they are virtually untouchable. With Wynonna's voice being one of the best in the history of the music, and Naomi's harmonizing being literally the most unconventional, they are wall-to-wall original as an act. With the two closers, "Endless Sleep," a solid rocker in the "Heartbreak Hotel" tradition, and the plaintive "Mama He's Crazy," the duo accomplish the impossible: becoming a longstanding duo who consistently rode the top of the charts until Naomi left for health reasons and who remained a bona fide country music act. Of all their recordings, Why Not Me is their best-known, best-selling, and deservedly so. It's perfect.

Customer Reviews

The First Time...

The first time I heard the miraculous voice of Wynonna, I was sitting in my mom and dad's car pulling into my sister's driveway in north Georgia and I heard this voice come through the radio and fell instantly in love! I was 15 at the time and have had an on-gong melodic love affair between her voice and my ears ever since. I've had the amazing opportunity to see Wy live several times and it's one of the few recording artists that sound BETTER live than on a studio recording. I would pay to listen to her sing the phone book! If you are an avid music fan, regardless of your prefered genre, you owe it to yourself to stop and listen to one of the most distinctive country voices of our generation. In my opinion, Wynonna is as much a vocal impact as Elvis and Patsy to the world of music. Keep singin' sister...my ears can NEVER get enough!

What a talented singer!

I am a Security Officer at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas and worked Wynona's Christmas concert.
What a great and talented singer she is. This is one of the best country music albums to come out
in the 80's. I recommend buying it as well as seeing her in concert. She mentioned in the concert she
might be touring with her mom this year. I hope they do. She is also a very nice and classy person.

Chris Goe

Phenomenal Album

This is a remarkable album. Wynonna's voice and Naomi's subtle, inimitable harmonies are the primary draw, but there are other things that make this record special. First, the song selection is very strong. There's not a weak song here, and they probably could have released a couple more successful singles. Second, the album SOUNDS fantastic. I think it was the best-produced country album of this era (Brett Maher is the producer. It still sounds better than most albums produced 30 years later. Finally, the acoustic guitar work by Don Potter on these songs is remarkable. This one is a classic.

Biography

Formed: 1979 in Ashland, KY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Up until the rise of Brooks & Dunn in the '90s, the Judds were the most commercially successful duo in country music history. Mother Naomi and daughter Wynonna enjoyed an astounding run of 14 number one singles from 1984 to 1989, ranking them as one of the most popular country acts of the '80s. Their music combined elements of traditional country harmony singing, bluegrass, and Appalachian folk with pop, rock, and polished contemporary production. Moreover, Wynonna's powerful, bluesy, often sexy...
Full Bio