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New Albums by Martina McBride And Carlene Carter Reviewed



Carlene Carter’s last album was 2008’s excellent Stronger and Martina McBride held her own opening for George Strait last month and both  are performing cover albums and both are, you know, the real deal. But neither album quite makes it though Carlene comes close she gets caught in the undertow and Martina makes the bush league mistake of covering two albums associated with Van Morrison.

The Carter family have to stop fetishisizing themselves, they are on the verge of becoming the Kennedy’s of country. Barely a month after Rosanne Cash’s moribund The River And The Thread, here comes Carlene dusting off Carter Family artifacts to mixed results on Carter Girl The album finds a groove here and there but essentially there is only one message at work, here is my DNA, where the fuck is yours?

Being related to greatness is all well and good but as the Romans discovered thousands of years ago, Kings lead to tyrants the way sex leads to pregnancy and it just plain ain’t enough.If this sounds like damnation, it isn’t. Many of these songs are lovely, Carlene’s “Give Me The Roses” is just about perfection. And if you don’t know the originals, why not discover them here? Plus Carlene’s own “Lonesome Valley 2003” saves a great Carlene song from the dustbin of history.

But it isn’t really much use and we could’ve used some new stuff.

No excuse for the Don Was produced Everlasting, nine years after the much better Timeless which proved Martina’s greatest gift was covering “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden”. This is not terrible, it simply isn’t all that good. Martina has a sweet voice, good range, nice ‘tude, smartness, prettiness, wears middle age very well. What she can’t do is cover Elvis Presley, a not good “Suspicious Mind” or Van Morrison, an iffy “Bring It On Home To Me” (yes, I know, he covered it on It’s Too Late To Stop Now,  wiseass) and an atrocious “Wild Night”. As for “Come See About Me”… did I mention she was great opening for George Strait?

Carter Girl – Carlene Carter – B+

Everlasting – Martina McBride – C


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