Rosanne Cash's catalog on Columbia is nothing if not formidable. Her pioneering meld of country, rock & roll (with an emphasis on "rock"), folk, and even blues, her topical concerns (which went deeper than most songwriters who came before her in taking on the tough topics of life), and her insistence on working outside the Nashville box scored her a number of hits and blazed the trail for many women who came later. King's Record Shop followed by two years her flirtation with the kind of pop coming out of England in droves, the radically underappreciated Rhythm & Romance. King's Record Shop -- produced by her then-husband and longtime collaborator Rodney Crowell -- is a granite-solid collection of covers and originals that delve deeply into the traditions that informed her life and created her as an artist, while revealing the trouble in her marriage to Crowell. The opening track, Eliza Gilkyson's "Rosie Strike Back," is a real feminist country anthem, and contains killer backing vocals from Patty Smyth (of Scandal) and Steve Winwood. Her read of John Hiatt's "The Way We Make a Broken Heart" is the kind of torch and tang ballad that will stand the test of time simply for its gender-bending take on relationships. Her collaboration with Hank DeVito, "If You Change Your Mind," is a jangly folk-rock ballad that expresses romantic longing in the face of a wayward lover; in its choruses one hears need as well as generosity. "The Real Me," a song that offers the vulnerability, truth, and flaws of a life in the process of transformation, is a preview of the type of material that would appear on the nakedly revealing Interiors. And it just goes deeper, from her rollicking and rebellious rocker "Somewhere Sometime" to the stellar cover of John Stewart's heart-wrenching "Runaway Train" to the straight-ahead country of her father Johnny's "Tennessee Flat Top Box." With its faux soul R&B chorus, Crowell's "I Don't Have to Crawl" is as full of want, cracked-heart honesty, and determination to keep standing as anything in country music. Ultimately, King's Record Shop is Rosanne Cash's classic, a work that transcends production and songwriting styles and the pop and country music of the time.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek