December 19, 1995
JCI Associated Labels
Country, Outlaw Country, Adult Contemporary, Progressive Country, Honky Tonk, Traditional Country, Country-Pop, Contemporary Country, New Traditionalist, Urban Cowboy

Album Review

It's Only Country 1980-1984 follows the pattern of JCI's It's Only series, offering a seemingly random collection of 20 hits from a given genre for a period of five years. These songs weren't necessarily the biggest hits of those five years, although there are a number of classics and smashes here. It may be hard to deduce exactly why these songs were chosen, but the end results are nevertheless quite entertaining. All of the songs are featured in their original hit versions, not remakes, which isn't always the case with midline country collections. Furthermore, there a few cuts that aren't easy to find on other collections or even greatest-hits albums, which means it's interesting to collectors as well as casual fans. Most importantly, each volume captures the feeling of the era, even if it's missing several big hits, and that's what makes the series a nice introductory overview for curious listeners. Among the highlights on It's Only Country 1980-1984 are the Oak Ridge Boys' "Elvira," Johnny Lee's "Looking for Love," Eddie Rabbitt's "Drivin' My Life Away," Juice Newton's "Sweetest Thing (I've Ever Heard)," Mel Tillis' "Southern Rains," Ricky Skaggs' "Crying My Heart Out Over You," Merle Haggard's "Pancho & Lefty," John Anderson's "Swingin'," Willie Nelson's "Always on My Mind," Terry Gibbs' "Somebody's Knockin'," Emmylou Harris' "Beneath Still Waters," and Conway Twitty's "Slow Hand."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Elvira
  2. Lookin' for Love
  3. Jose Cuervo
  4. Baby Bye Bye
  5. Drivin' My Life Away
  6. The Sweetest Thing (I've Ever Known)
  7. Southern Rains
  8. Crying My Heart Out over You
  9. One of a Kind Pair of Fools
  10. Pancho and Lefty
  11. Swingin'
  12. You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma
  13. Slow Burn
  14. Always on My Mind
  15. Somebody's Knockin'
  16. Talk to Me
  17. Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper's Dream)
  18. Beneath Still Waters
  19. Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)
  20. Slow Hand