Various Artists

New Ladies of Country

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One of the better collections of performances from The Nashville Network's Church Street Station show recorded at the Cheyenne Saloon & Opera House, this features four main artists and works better than other DVDs in the series because there is less extraneous material and more performance. Kathy Mattea opens things up with the country tune "Ball & Chain" (not to be confused with Janis Joplin's rendition of Big Mama Thornton's classic or Tommy James' pop tune with the same title). Her rendition of "Someone Is Falling in Love" is styled after the Kenny Rogers/Helen Reddy reign of '70s/'80s middle-of-the-road easy listening, and her voice fits the melody perfectly. The band behind Mattea is lively, including a guy and a gal on backing vocals who keep the movement happening behind her. The guy, John Thompson, steps forward to duet on "Put Yourself in My Place," which is a good change for this all-female presentation. Lorrie Morgan starts off with Olivia Newton-John's big 1975 hit "Please Mr. Please," titled "Please Me Please" on the DVD case. She also covers Lionel Richie's 1984 hit "Stuck on You," which lends itself beautifully to this format as if written for country. Morgan is all decked out and her voice is in perfect shape, a very smooth "You're Getting to Me Again" completing her set. Patty Loveless gets only a couple of tracks, but the transition works and "It's What You Don't Do" isn't a jolt at all from what Mattea and Morgan offered earlier. Becky Hobbs then arrives for her four numbers, including two quick two-and-a-half-minute tunes. She sits down at the piano to rave up a bit on "The Hottest Ex in Texas," then comes out front for "Oklahoma Heart," followed by a cute little "Knock Knock" and a beautiful rendition of Barbara Mason's nugget from the summer of 1965, "Yes, I'm Ready." It's pure pop with just a dash of country, and a beautiful way to close out this impressive set. The entire set clocks in at 46 minutes, not the approximate hour on the back, though there are written biographies of the gals and some advertisements for other products in the Quantum Leap catalog.

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