My Woman, My Woman, My Wife

Dean Martin

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My Woman, My Woman, My Wife Review

by William Ruhlmann

By 1970, Dean Martin was stepping into the recording studio infrequently, coming in for two days every spring to record a new album and, maybe, doing the occasional singles session. His longtime producer, Jimmy Bowen, who had been guiding him in the studio since his comeback hit, "Everybody Loves Somebody," in 1964, seemed to have run out of ideas and ambitions for him. For the spring 1970 sessions that produced My Woman, My Woman, My Wife, Bowen seems to have focused on the success that Frankie Laine had in 1969 covering the Marty Robbins composition "You Gave Me a Mountain," a melodramatic ballad addressed to God that had been a country hit for Johnny Bush. Robbins wrote a similar piece of material, "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife," and had just taken it to the top of the country charts himself, and Bowen perhaps thought Martin could rejuvenate his career with a pop cover just the way Laine had with "You Gave Me a Mountain." That didn't happen; Martin's version barely grazed the pop singles charts. (It couldn't have helped that, unlike Laine, he sang without any emotional commitment to the lyrics.) For the rest, Bowen simply drew upon his deep familiarity with country music, having Martin record songs that had been country hits for the likes of Connie Smith ("Once a Day"), Eddy Arnold ("Make the World Go Away," "Turn the World Around"), Bill Anderson ("The Tips of My Fingers"), Bobby Bare ("Detroit City"), Buck Owens ("Together Again"), Ray Price ("Heart Over Mind"), and Johnny Tillotson ("It Keeps Right on a-Hurtin'"). Martin obliged, and Bowen provided his usual Nashville sound-style production. But this was nothing the two hadn't done many times before, and record buyers were losing interest.

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