A real legendary release at the end of April 2021: Ronnie Milsap is indeed a country music big one. Currently aged 78 years, the artist is releasing his 29th studio album at 30th April 2021. Here is my detailed review of A Better Word For Love.
Ronnie Milsap – About The Artist
Ronnie Lee Milsap was born on 16th January 1943 in Robbinsville, North Carolina. Due to a disorder, he is almost completely blind from birth. As he has been abandoned from his mother as well, he grew up in very poor conditions with his grandparents. Being at a school for the blind, he more and more grew his interest on music of many genres. At the beginning, he was rather into country, blues and gospel, the raise of Elvis Presley also gave him a focus in Rock’n’Roll. He started to release music in the early 1960’s, but his breakthrough song was definitely Pure Love, The 1974 single was the third song by Ronnie Milsap, which ever made it to the charts – and it was a US country chart topper already.
Ronnie Milsap was huge in the 1970’s, during which he had twelve additional US Country Charts #1 songs. His success kept on until the early 1990’s – Turn That Radio On in 1991 was his last song making it to he US Country Top 10. On the album side, he was slightly less successful – which still means that he lists numerous Top 10 and Top 20 albums. He regularly released music – his previous album, The Duets, has been released on 18th January 2019.
Ronnie Milsap – A Better Word For Love – Track by Track
The ten song album lasts 36 minutes.
1. Big Bertha (feat. Vince Gill)
How would you imagine a country music legend’s country song to sound alike? Maybe just alike Big Bertha, this opening track of A Better Word For Love. I have to admit that I first thought that I listen to the wrong song – the beginning feel quite a lot like a blues song. But when the piano is joined by the fiddle, my country heart feels being at home. Great starter – and a nice collaboration with Vince Gill as well.
2. Wild Honey
She’s my wild honey
She’s got a reckless streak
She’s as sweet as sweet can be
She’s my wild honey
Well, and everybody knows my honey’s just wild about me
Classic country at its finest – the second song is a lovely traditional style recording which comes just with nice touch of other Americana genres. I even feel a slight touch of The King – so the album can’t be that bad.
3. A Better Word for Love
The title track comes with a very different flavor: Ronnie Milsap is initially just joined by the acoustic guitar – later, there are other instruments like the piano, which finally lead to a lovely ballad. An absolute beauty.
4. Almost Mine
Almost, so close that I can almost taste it
For so long I’ve watched them waiting
Trough the long lonely nights
And almost, my wait is almost over
Cause I’ve got a brain new feeling inside
That you’re almost mine
When I am listening to this song, I just imagine a cowboy riding home on his horse in the Mid-West and thinking about his love. This song is just so plushy, so warm, so loving… Okay, it is kitsch as well. But I feel it is just on that bearable side of music. Like a good Disney movie.
The album stays at the emotional, loving side of life. If you need a song for an intimate dance or a cozy evening, this might be a 2021 suggestion by Ronnie Milsap. It might be the voice combined with the organ and the string sounds might already be a bit too much for you.
6. This Side of Heaven
I just published the review of Mike Leon Grosch’s new album Wenn wir uns wiedersehen – a die-hard German schlager one. My final view was also about that people say that schlager is the German country music. If you need a song to illustrate, e.g. for your next school presentation – This Side of Heaven is a perfect example. A song like angels dancing happily on pink clouds… The sheep which are swaying to the rhythm on the green grass below are something like the background choir. Do you feel the warmth in your heart?
7. Civil War (Live)
The longest song on the album, Civil War is in fact a live recording. A lovely piano anti-war track.
For now, the south side bedroom’s mine
Well, it’s sister against brother
Friend against lover
It’s sad to say but pride’s the tie that binds
Tell me, what are we fighting for
Nobody’s gonna win this civil war
The Fireworks are likely the most energetic episode of A Better Word For Love. There are no flashing lights and explosions, but a touch of blues and the spirit of Rock’n’Roll in this song. And there are brass sounds as well. Unfortunately, there are also the sheep… Backing vocals from the song before.
Now is another song (about love, of course), which has quite a touch of kitsch. At least the steel guitars safe the country blending. Definitely a song which is welcome during these times.
10. Too Bad for My Own Good
The sound of Too Bad for My Own Good rather reminds me of 1980’s/90’s pop / rock than a country song, regardless whether classic or modern. It’s my favorite era – it is his most successful time – so I party this final track together with Ronnie Milsap.
Ronnie Milsap – A Better Word For Love – Spotify
Here is the album on Spotify:
Ronnie Milsap – A Better Word For Love – My View
A Better Word For Love is to me plushy, warm, kitschy. You can add the fourth word by yourself: either you feel it is just too much of it. I can relate to that thought, for sure. Or you feel it is just a beauty the way it is. I would somehow love not to love this album, but I can’t. Yes, it is sopping full of emotions. But somehow, it touches me. And – definitely – the album is versatile and well-produced.
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