October 28, 2008

One More Last Chance...and the Urban Cowboy

Ahhh, this is the cover of Ray Stevens 1981 RCA album, One More Last Chance. I do not know who the people are in the picture except for Ray Stevens of course. The back of the album shows him grinning wearing the cowboy hat.

As I mentioned in one of my Ray Stevens career essay's, this album was released in 1981 at the peak of the Urban Cowboy movement that swept through country music. Urban Cowboy is a 1980 movie starring John Travolta. The movie took place mostly at country singer Mickey Gilley's bar in Texas, known as "Gilley's". The movement included many people outside of country music embracing the "country" image and wearing "country" apparel. Cowboy hats, boots, fringe vests, and anything else that would cry out "country" was bought up by those caught up in the Urban Cowboy movie. The movie's soundtrack was a huge success, too. Ray took on an Urban Cowboy look during this period...often appearing in blue jeans and those style of shirts. In one Hee-Haw appearance from 1980 he performs a love ballad wearing a cowboy hat looking similar to Johnny Lee, a country singer whose biggest hit "Lookin' For Love" was the theme song of the Urban Cowboy movie.

One More Last Chance featured a well-crafted line-up of songs running through a myriad of emotions. The album was ballad heavy with just a few songs making it to mid-tempo. "One More Last Chance" featured an electric guitar as it's lead instrument...but the steel guitar was prominent on the recording as well. "Just About Love", "Let's Do It Right This Time", "It's Not All Over", "Certain Songs" and "I Believe You Love Me" play on the album's concept of love gone wrong with the hope of another chance. "Melissa" is a deep love ballad that tells the story of a man who falls in love with a woman but the two of them have very different lifestyles and yet he still loves her. "Take Your Love" is a song that cuts to the heart and the man pleads with a woman to take her love and go because he isn't cut out for relationships due to all of the bad ones he's been in. "Pretend" is the only song that breaks the mood...it comes on with an urgent brass section and Mexican-flavored arrangements. It is the same song that Nat King Cole had a hit with as a ballad but Ray's version is up-tempo...it's sort of like Ray Stevens meets Herb Alpert, which may give you an idea of how the song sounds.

The album's closing song, "Night Games", was actually a Top-20 single for Ray in late 1980 but it never appeared on an album until this one was released. That song takes place inside a bar room where a story unfolds between a woman and a man who meet one another at a bar, perhaps Gilley's? Anyway, the song tells the story of the couple who find one another, have a one night stand, and wake up the next morning embarrassed and feeling awkward over what took place but because the two are hopeless romantics they'll leave each other and go out on the town later that night looking for love{?} and join everybody else who are out there playing night games.

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