Cristy Lane

Greatest Country Hits

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This anthology gathers 20 of Cristy Lane's (nee Eleanor Johnston) most memorable selections, each making their respective marks on the country music charts during the late 1970s and early '80s. Although Lane's life and career was marred by poor choices from her often overambitious husband/manager Lee Stoller, she was able to consistently churn out hits for Stoller's LS Records imprint -- many of which became favorites on honky tonk jukeboxes as well. The collection commences in the mid-'70s with Lane already in her second decade as the "female Jim Reeves" -- a moniker bestowed upon her unmistakably gentle and benevolent voice, which is often tinged in a melancholia setting her apart from contemporaries, including Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. After several years, the struggling LS Records became Lane's outlet for a string of well-received sides beginning with the hot-steppin' break-up song "Let Me Down Easy," as well as the remake of the Lennon Sisters' poignant "Shake Me I Rattle (Squeeze Me I Cry)." Cuts such as the rural rocker "I'm Gonna Love You Anyway," the motivating almost-disco groove on "Simple Little Words," not to mention the power ballad "Sweet Sexy Eyes," display Lane's ability to effortlessly vacillate between edgier material and a comparatively affective performance style. That quality is perhaps best captured on Lane's sole survey-topping number, "One Day at a Time." The tune was penned by legendary composers Kris Kristofferson and Marijohn Wilkin and was inspired by the latter's recovery from substance abuse. Even though Lane was not the first (or only) artist to have recorded the title, it is her reading that made a significant impact on listeners. While the success gave her more public exposure, it did little to broaden any crossover appeal. Ironically, her final Top 20 country entry was a cover of ABBA's "I Have a Dream," after which Lane's popularity began to gradually wane. Greatest Country Hits (2005) concludes with "I've Come Back (To Say I Love You One More Time)" and a musical rendition of the Mary Stevenson poem "Footprints in the Sand."

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