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Jeannie C. Riley

The Little Darlin' Sound of Jeannie C. Riley – 2005 (Little Darlin'/Koch)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Jeannie C. Riley

Listening to this reissue of Jeannie C. Riley's 1968 "Sock Soul" album offers a pleasant journey back in time to an era when country artists regularly sang about cheating, instead of trying far too hard to remain politically correct. This spirit of wander/lust is especially expressed through the conflicting emotions of "How Can Anything So Right Be So Wrong." Obviously, this woman had more on her mind than just the goings on at the Harper Valley PTA.

The best songs are the opener, "The Price I Pay to Stay," which mimics the electric guitar line from H.V. PTA, and "I'll Be a Woman of the World," a kind of sister song to "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad," since it celebrates a woman's choice to be just as risqu+ as the girl her man is cheating with. The songwriting is topnotch throughout and includes a couple of Johnny Paycheck creations, such as the silly fun of "You've Got Me Singing Nursery Rhymes."

There's nothing wrong with revisiting cool retro recordings like this one every now and then, as this "Harper Valley PTA" veteran was certainly well-schooled in the art of creating memorable country music.