Sonny James

The Minute You're Gone

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Sonny James wrote a lot of mediocre material to fill out his late-'60s and early-'70s albums, so it is not very surprising that The Minute You're Gone -- to which he contributed no original songs -- is actually one of his better albums. The probable reason for his non-participation in the songwriting department is that The Minute You're Gone was his first Capitol album after returning to the label in 1963, and he would not gain artistic control until he had proven himself commercially. The title track was a Top Ten country hit that crossed over to the pop chart, and "Going Through the Motions (Of Living)" made the country Top 20, but the album tracks are where things really get interesting. "Bad Times a Comin'" has as hard a country sound as James ever adopted in the '60s, and the bilingual "Shina-No-Yuro" could have been a left-field hit like "Sukiyaki." "Tommy Brown" is a long-winded tale involving a laughably maudlin tragedy, and "Gold and Silver" is a charming love song that George Jones also cut around the same time. It may be that only ardent James-watchers will perceive the difference between The Minute You're Gone and its successors, but to quote a Johnny Horton song: Hooray for that little difference.

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