During her lengthy career Loretta Lynn Morgan has had a lot of hits, though lately she has been in the news more for cutting cake (married six times at press time) than for cutting records. "Letting Go . . . Slow" is her first solo album since 2010's pop-oriented "I Walk Alone" (about which the less said the better), and she seems to be trying to make a country comeback, going mostly with covers on this record.
Speaking of covers, for some reason Morgan has gone with a 1967 Barbara Eden "I Dream Of Jeannie" look on the front of this CD. Seriously, she looks like she just popped out of that bottle ready to cause trouble for her beloved Major Nelson. She's even got that weird '60s hairstyle that looks like someone trying to slip past customs, smuggling a grapefruit in their wig.
Plenty more questionable choices once you realize she's not going to grant you three wishes - or share her grapefruit - and you open the CD. Give her credit for not shying away from covering songs strongly associated with other artists. "Lay, Lady, Lay" was a country song when Bob Dylan surprised everybody with the groundbreaking "Nashville Skyline" LP in 1969, but Morgan gives the song pop arrangements and a reggae beat, making it more head scratching than ground-breaking. "Ode to Billie Joe" is a song that hardly anybody has the nerve to cover, and if you want to know why, listen to Morgan's version. There's nothing an artist can do with it, Bobbie Gentry nailed it so perfectly that it will always be her song and only hers. Nor is anybody likely to forget Vern Gosdin's top 10 hit "Is It Raining at Your House" or Earl Thomas Conley's "What I'd Say" after hearing Morgan's lounge-singeresque versions.
Morgan does show a bit more forethought when she covers a Patsy Cline song, going with the rather obscure "Strange" the B-side to 1962's "She's Got You." But even here, the years of heavy smoking have so damaged her vocal instrument she has to rely on her backup singers to hit the notes that she rang out so memorably in the '90s.
The original tracks fare only slightly better. Lyrically "Jesus and Hairspray" reads like it might have been an album filler track back in Ms. Morgan's heyday, but it's unlikely to appeal to today's more empowered female demographic. "How Does it Feel" a weepy ballad which Morgan co-wrote and which closes out the album has its moments, but not enough of them.
Sorry, Lorrie, but maybe it's those comeback dreams you ought to let go.