Six years after their debut, the Judds were still cranking out the hits, albeit with a funkier, grittier sound that brought electric pianos and Hammond B-3s into the mix. Using the same basic team that had made their career the monstrously successful thing it was, talent like guitarists like Carl Perkins, Mark Knopfler, and Roy Huskey, Jr. augment River of Time. That said, it seems like the funkier and less traditionally "country" the Judds became, the wider their appeal. Album to album, their singles still seemed to resonate with country audiences the most. River of Time boasted two number singles, the plaintive country of "Young Love" and the rockabilly shuffle of Perkins' "Let Me Tell You About Love" with Perkins kicking it on guitar. Naomi Judd is also featured here as a prominent songwriter with her partner, John Jarvis, on the title track, "Cadillac Red," and the closer, "Guardian Angel." There is a stunning cover of Boudleaux Bryant's "Sleepless Nights" that equals the Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris version. And Knopfler's "Water of Love" was stretching it for the Judds, but in its sultry outlaw country feel and the author's guitar snaking around Wynonna's voice, nocturnal and mysterious, it's the most seductive tune on the set. The strutting country boogie of "Cadillac Red" and the shuffling swinging honky tonk of "Do I Dare" are infectious. "Guardian Angel," which Naomi wrote with Jarvis and Don Schlitz, bears the latter's unmistakable imprint. Having written "The Gambler" for Kenny Rogers, Naomi's story is made elegant by a heartbreakingly beautiful melody and refrain. River of Time is another ace in the Judds' hands.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek