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Closing Time: Morello Reissues Lacy J. Dalton’s Final Two Columbia Albums

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LacyContinuing its reissue series drawn from her catalogue, Cherry Red’s Morello Records has recently released a twofer collecting Lacy J. Dalton’s Highway Diner and Blue Eyed Blues.  Dalton’s tenure at Columbia spanned eight albums and two greatest hits compilation between 1980 and 1987.  Morello has previously collected Dalton’s middle period at the label with twofer of Takin’ It Easy and 16th Avenue (Morello Records CD MRLL33).  This release closes out her time at the label with her final two albums under the Columbia banner.

Lacy J. Dalton was born as Jill Byrem in 1948 in Pennsylvania.   Following her musical muse, she eventually ended up in San Francisco in the latter part of the 1960s performing psychedelic rock with a band known as Office.  She married the band’s manager, becoming Jill Croston, but he sadly died in an accident.  Deciding to reinvent herself as a country singer, Croston adopted the name Lacy J. Dalton.  Her demo was heard by Billy Sherrill, the influential country producer who had worked with George Jones and Tammy Wynette.  He liked what he heard and Dalton was signed to Columbia Records in 1979.

Dalton’s first single was “Crazy Blue Eyes” which hit No. 17 on the U.S. Country charts.  The song was included on her eponymous debut which also featured two additional Top 20 Country hits:  “The Tennessee Waltz” and “Losing Kind of Love.”  Adding to her strong start at Columbia, she was also named “Best New Female Vocalist” at the 1979 Country Music Association Awards.  Dalton hit the country Top 10 for the first time with the No. 7 placing title track off of Hard Times from 1980 and achieved her highest charting Country single at No. 2 with 1982’s “Takin’ It Easy” off the album of the same name.

By the time of 1986’s Highway Diner, Dalton had decided to go back to her roots and add more rock and R&B to her music, similar to Bonnie Raitt.  The album was produced by Walt Aldridge (writer of Ronnie Milsap’s “(There’s) No Getting Over Me” and Earl Thomas Conley’s “Holding Her and Loving You”) and recoded at the venerable Fame Recording Studio in Alabama.   “Working Class Man” and “This Ol’ Town” were released as singles and peaked at No. 16 and No. 33 on the Country charts.  The album itself got to No. 32 on the Country LP charts.

Dalton’s last album for Columbia was 1987’s Blue Eyed Blues.  Following a pattern for many end-of- contract affairs, the album mixed new tracks with previously released material.  The new material consisted of the two songs “Have I Got a Heart For You” and “I’ll Love Them Whatever They Are.”  Four tracks were included from her previous albums (“Blue Eyed Blues,” Hillbilly Girl With the Blues,” “16th Avenue” and “My Old Yellow Car”). Duets with Bobby Bare, George Jones, David Allan Coe and Earl Scruggs rounded out the LP.  These songs had originally appeared on albums and singles by the duet partners.

Continue Lacy’s story after the jump!  Plus: the track listing with discography and order links!

Blue Eyed Blues failed to make the Country charts and Lacy J. Dalton’s time at Columbia was over.  She soon moved to Universal for 1989’s Survivor and to Capitol for 1990’s Lacy J.  These two albums have also been released by Morello Records as a twofer (Morello Records CD MRLL4).   Since the 1990s, Dalton has not been seen much on the charts, but she has continued to perform and release music, including two independent records in the 2000s.

Morello’s new release of the two albums features a six page booklet with new liner notes by Michael Heatley.   Remastering has been handled by Andy Pearce.  If you would like to continue to explore Lacy J. Dalton’s time at Columbia, these albums are worth a look.

Lacy J. Dalton, Highway Diner/Blue Eyed Blues (Morello Records CD MRLL38, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

  1. Working Class Man
  2. 12:05
  3. Changing All the Time
  4. Taking It All in Stride
  5. Cant’ Seem Me Without You
  6. This Ol’ Town
  7. Up with the Wind
  8. Boomtown
  9. Gone Again
  10. Closing Time
  11. Have I Got a Heart For You
  12. It’s a Dirty Job (with Bobby Bare)
  13. Blue Eyed Blues
  14. That’s Good – That’s Bad (with George Jones)
  15. Gotta Serve Somebody (with David Allan Coe)
  16. I’ll Love Them Whatever They Are
  17. Hillbilly Girl with the Blues
  18. 16th Avenue
  19. My Old Yellow Car
  20. Love Gone Cold (with Earl Scruggs)

Tracks 1 -10 from Highway Diner Columbia FC 40383, 1986
Tracks 11-20 from Blue Eyed Blues Columbia CK 40780, 1987
Track 12 originally from Columbia single 38-03628, 1983
Tracks 13, 16 originally from 16th Avenue Columbia FC37975, 1982
Track 14 originally from George Jones, Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes Epic FE39598, 1985
Track 15 originally from David Allan Coe, Castles in the Sand Columbia FC38535, 1983
Track 17 originally from Hard Times Columbia JC36763, 1980
Track 19 originally from Dream Baby Columbia FC38604, 1983
Track 20 originally from Earl Scruggs, Top of the World CBS 25097, 1983

Written by Joe Marchese

January 5, 2015 at 14:42

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