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I Guess That Comes from Being Poor

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Album Review

This country concept album from the downside of Norma Jean's career looks at poverty from a myriad of perspectives. The economic recession of the '70s inspired a number of similar country albums, the most commercially successful of which was Bobby Bare's Hard Time Hungrys. Norma Jean grew up poor herself, so I Guess That Comes from Being Poor reflects something of her experiences and attitudes, as evidenced by the liner notes she wrote for it. The album contains a handful of newly composed songs, such as the title track and the bleak "The Lord Must Have Loved the Poor Folks," but many of the cuts are renditions of country hits and classics. "Life of a Poor Boy" was a hit for Stonewall Jackson, "Po' Folks" for Bill Anderson, and "Hungry Eyes" for Merle Haggard, but Norma Jean is such a distinctive vocalist that she brings something new to the songs. "Old Doc Brown" describes a poor community's efforts to memorialize a kindly country doctor, and is a rare example of a recitation by a female artist. Norma Jean may have included Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors" as a goodwill gesture, since Parton was Norma Jean's replacement on The Porter Wagoner Show. Norma Jean's hitmaking era for RCA Victor had ended by this point, but her albums never declined in quality.

Customer Reviews


absolutely fabulous c&w album. great deal, ten bucks for thirty tracks, the cd will run you upwards of twenty dollars. norma jean has a very unique and fantastic voice and is a lively singer.


Born: January 30, 1938 in Wellston, OK

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

"Pretty Miss Norma Jean" may be best remembered as Porter Wagoner's stage partner before he was paired with Dolly Parton, but she was also well known for an often hard-edged group of songs that spoke of poverty, hard work, and the instability of romantic relationships. Although she didn't have the songwriting creativity of Loretta Lynn or Dolly Parton, she was comparable to those stars in her general outlook. Norma Jean Beasler was no stranger to poverty herself, born into a hard-working farm family...
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I Guess That Comes from Being Poor, Norma Jean
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