Janie Fricke - lead vocals; Melvin Strauss - drums; Alan Strauss - guitar; Don Dorman - pedal steel, guitar, banjo; Tony Wiggins - bass; Robert Dohegan - lead guitar; Bill Warren - rhythm guitar, vocals; Benny Wilson - harmonica, vocals
This recording was made for the Silver Eagle Cross Country radio series on Fricke's 1982 US tour (when she was the opening act for Alabama in several markets). Although Fricke never attained the kind of success that artists like Dolly Parton or Shania Twain did, she built a loyal following of fans, especially below the Mason-Dixon line, during the early- and mid-1980s.
Fricke recorded for Sony/CBS's Epic Records during that period, and the label giant's Nashville promotional arm was in full swing when she recorded this show. Opening with the traditional country standard "Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms," Fricke and her group, the Heart City Band, keep the crowd up and happy through a set of her own hits and country-arranged pop covers.
Her own top-20 hits go down the best: "Down To My Last Broken Heart," "Please Help Me I'm Falling (In Love)," "Like A Fox On The Run," "Do Me With Love;" and a medley of her singles that boasts "Pass Me By," "Do Me Wrong," and "It's A Cheating Situation."
Things go a little awry when Fricke does country arrangements of several R&B and pop classics. In most cases, these arrangements don't work, giving the show the air of a Holiday Inn lounge act performance. Among them: Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman," and the Elvis classic "Heartbreak Hotel." The crowd, however, loves these, and they go down well.
Janie Fricke was one of country music's biggest female stars of the 1980s. She had a long run of top-10 country hits during her association with producer Billy Sherrill and CBS/Sony Nashville's powerful Epic Records. Originally a vocalist for advertising jingles (taking a cue from Barry Manilow, a medley of her best-known jingles pops up in the middle of the show), and later a top session vocalist for various Nashville studios, Fricke was taken under Sherrill's wing in the late 1970s. He placed her with several established acts he was producing at the time, including Charlie Rich and Johnny Duncan. Her duets with these two male stars reached the top 20 and provided her with enough momentum to launch her own career.
Yearning to build a career of her own, she was finally given a shot to cut a solo album. The first two singles failed to climb into the Billboard Country Music Top 40, so Sherrill decided to switch gears, and moved Fricke in a direction that focused primarily on country ballads.
From there, her career took off; in 1983 alone she scored four number-one singles. But by the end of the 80s, Fricke was struggling to maintain her hit-making status. She continues to occasionally record and tour.
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