Brenda Lee

Even Better

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Brenda Lee may have seemed like an old timer when Even Better was released in 1980, but she was 36 years old -- only a few years older than Barbara Mandrell and Dolly Parton. The album contains two of Lee's last major hits, the biggest of which is the Top Ten "Tell Me What It's Like." "The Cowgirl and the Dandy," also a Top Ten hit, explores love across class boundaries in what is practically a rewrite of the Tommy Cash hit "The Cowboy and the Lady." Rafe VanHoy is a major player on the album, contributing several songs and lead guitar, while his wife, country star Deborah Allen, co-wrote "Goodbye Love" with Jim Stafford. The roster of well-known songwriters on Even Better certainly contributed to its success, as did Lee's willingness to tackle adult material despite her perpetual little girl image, as on the mildly lascivious "Do You Wanna Spend the Night." Ultimately Even Better was designed for the contemporary country audience of 1980 rather than the oldies nostalgia crowd, so there is no guarantee that fans of her early music will take a liking to this slick, modern country music.

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