Ronnie Milsap

A Rose By Any Other Name

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Released in 1975, just as Ronnie Milsap's career was achieving cruising altitude, A Rose by Any Other Name winds up recycling much of his 1971 eponymous debut. A full five tracks are repeated from that album -- "Blue Skies of Montana," "Crying," "Keep on Smiling," "Why," and an excellent version of Kris Kristofferson's "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends" -- and to the mix are added some good leftovers, including a good version of Mickey Newbury's "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye." These additions push the album closer toward country than Ronnie Milsap was, which is a deliberate move: this way, it would appeal to the country audience more than the willful Southern eclecticism of his debut. But that eclecticism is a large part of what made Ronnie Milsap a satisfying debut, particularly because he hadn't yet developed his distinctive smooth country style -- a style that he found by 1975, when he started having hits like "Pure Love" and "(I'd Be) A Legend in My Time." So, the newer material here isn't as good as what was cut, and the album doesn't hold together as well as the original debut, leaving A Rose by Any Other Name as a fitfully entertaining record instead of a cohesive one.

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