Jessi Colter

I'm Jessi Colter/Jessi/Diamond in the Rough

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Great Britain's Beat Goes On Records features country singer and songwriter Jessi Colter's first three Capitol albums, I'm Jessi Colter (1975), Jessi (1976), and Diamond in the Rough (1976), in a remastered double-disc set. These three albums were all produced by Ken Mansfield and Waylon Jennings and feature a who's who collection of session players from both Nashville and Los Angeles. They each contain country chart singles. "I'm Not Lisa" from the completely self-penned contents of I'm Jessi Colter topped the country singles chart and hit the Top Five in the Billboard pop chart. Two more singles, "You Ain't Never Been Loved (Like I'm Gonna Love You)" and "What's Happened to Blue Eyes," also placed in the country chart's Top Five; the album stayed in the Billboard Top 50 for six months. Jessi enjoyed chart success inside the Top 100 for a couple of months and lesser charting singles. As an album, Jessi is an even more consistent album than its predecessor, and even more progressive in terms of its embrace of rhythm & blues and the emergent outlaw country -- she was the only woman in that brand's original ranks. The album is basically divided into uptempo tracks such as "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle," "Rounder," "One Woman Man," and "It's Morning (And I Still Love You)" on side one, and stellar ballads, all of which are on its second side. Diamond in the Rough was released only six months after Jessi. In terms of production, it's a more stripped-down affair. It contains covers: a country-funk take on the Beatles' "Get Back" (perhaps at Mansfield's suggestion, since he worked on later Beatles recordings and was employed by Apple), the sultry jazzy soul of Spooner Oldham and Donnie Fritts' title track, and Marshall Chapman's classic "A Woman's Heart (Is a Handy Place to Be)," all of which were brave inclusions on a country album in 1976. The originals include "You Hung the Moon (Didn't You Waylon?)" and the Colter-trademarked country-soul number "Ain't No Way." If you haven't already purchased the Raven editions of Colter's Capitol output, BGO's package is a fine place to begin.

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