Brenda Lee

Johnny One Time

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"Johnny One Time" was Brenda Lee's first country hit in over a decade and the beginning of her commercial "second wind" on the country charts that reached gale force in the mid-'70s. Mike Berniker's production makes the song sound little different from the other straight pop ballads Lee recorded during this period, but "Johnny One Time" had been a minor hit for Willie Nelson a few months earlier, so that made it country enough to cross over. The album of the same name is no different from Lee's typical late-'60s output and in no way foreshadows her coming revival as a country artist. The cover art portrays Lee as a sophisticated pop vocalist, an image that is supported by the material, particularly the several songs with European roots. The Jacques Brel and Rod McKuen composition "If You Go Away" is in a similar cosmopolitan vein, but the cover of the Box Tops' "The Letter" is a bit of a surprise. Brenda Lee is a sadly underrated vocalist who could have gone in any direction she chose; on Johnny One Time she dabbles in various styles, but the prevailing mood is one of adult pop.

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