Dottie West

Suffer Time

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Dottie West is visibly suffering on the cover of her 1966 album Suffer Time. Not only is she wearing a pained expression -- she appears to be on the verge of jumping off a bridge. The first song, "Mommy, Can I Still Call Him Daddy," could certainly drive its listeners to jump off a bridge. The wretched warbling of West's four-year-old son, Dale, renders nearly unbearable this maudlin tale of divorce as seen through the eyes of a child. Producer Chet Atkins must have had some difficulty getting a usable performance out of the tyke, because it sounds like he used a single take of the boy singing the chorus and dubbed it in everywhere it appears in the song. Even following on the heels of West's Top Five hit "Would You Hold It Against Me" wasn't enough to push this stinker into the Top 20. The album quickly improves, however, and wrings the tears out of a platter's worth of weepers about dead and dying love. West composed most of the songs on the album with her husband, including the two aforementioned hits and the album's second Top 20 entry, "What's Come Over My Baby." Felice and Boudleaux Bryant contributed the moderate hit "Before the Ring on Your Finger Turns Green," the only uptempo song on the album's first side. Atkins produced all but three cuts, which he delegated to Ray Stevens. The production style on Stevens' tracks is noticeably different, disrupting the continuity of the album. Thanks in large part to its four hit singles, Suffer Time was a substantial hit on the country album charts, despite the liner notes' promise that it will make its audience "taste the unhappiness of the eternal loser."

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