Barbara Mandrell

Spun Gold

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Barbara Mandrell's Spun Gold contains some bizarre collisions of country music's traditional working-class perspective with disco-era glitz. Take, for example, "In Times Like These," one of the album's two hits. The song, set to a chugging "Proud Mary" guitar riff, addresses themes of hardship such as being forced to wear patched clothes. Meanwhile, Mandrell is decked out on the album cover like a high-fashion model in gold lame'. Dolly Parton has always been able to negotiate these kinds of apparent contradictions, but Mandrell does not have the same gift. "One of a Kind Pair of Fools" offers a less jarring choice of material; its strong hook and pure pop production helped make it Mandrell's final number one hit. Her career was derailed by a car accident a year later, but she remained on the charts in a diminished capacity throughout the '80s.

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