Wynonna Judd portrait Wynonna Judd


Wynonna Judd "Wynonna Judd" (Curb/MCA, 1992)
(Produced by Tony Brown & Don Potter)

Bleahh. Wynonna's bluesy big-mama act doesn't work for me, and the songs are all wa-a-a-a-ayyy too overwritten. As usual, the studio-concocted "band" sounds stiff and unnatural, and none of these songs resonate emotionally. Judd's fans will be pleased, but lovers of real, hard country can tread cautiously... and quickly... in the opposite direction.

Wynonna Judd "Tell Me Why" (Curb, 1993)
(Produced by Tony Brown & Don Potter)

I almost hate to admit it, but this is a very well-produced record, possibly her best solo album, with a nice balance of styles and a relatively restrained approach to the poppier end of things. For one thing, the song selection is noteworthy in and of itself, from the title track penned by Karla Bonoff to a pair of Jesse Winchester tunes, and one each by Austin altie Kimmie Rhodes, the then-up-and-coming young Sheryl Crow, and Mary Chapin Carpenter, whose rollicking "Girls With Guitars" almost singlehandedly helps anchor this album in the realm of real roots music. (And Lyle Lovett on harmony vocals, no less!) Wynonna's vocals are solid and focused, and the arrangements are tight. At the time, fans were baffled by the blues, gospel and pop that had "taken over" her sound, but given how she went even further in that direction in years to come, this disc was really no surprise. Here, though, Wynonna's crossover blues diva aspirations are at their rootsiest and most pure: the formula works better here than on practically any other record she's ever made. Definitely worth checking out!

Wynonna Judd "Revelations" (Curb, 1996) *
(Produced by Tony Brown & Don Potter)

Wynonna Judd "The Other Side" (Curb, 1997)
(Produced by Brent Maher, David Pack & Billy Joe Walker, Jr.)

This one's okay, too, I suppose, although some of her bluesy mannerisms get to be pretty irritating after a while. Alternates pretty consistently between pop material that's either cloying or over the top and more upbeat, bar band-y tunes like "Troubled Heart And A Troubled Mind" and "Love Like That" and even some surprisingly effective Delta blues ("Don't You Throw That Mojo On Me"). At least on the uptempo stuff she sounds like she's having some fun, and there's something to be said for that. Sadly, her eclecticism seems to have punished her in commercial terms -- only a couple of these songs cracked into the Top 20, and this disc really marked the start of her slide off the charts. Still, even though this ain't really my cup of tea, I can see where this album's got its good points. The production's really slick, but her heart is obviously in it, and that country for a lot. Worth checking out.

Wynonna Judd "New Day Dawning" (MCA, 2000) *
(Produced by James Stroud, Tony Brown & Gary Nicholson)

Wynonna Judd "What The World Needs Now" (Curb, 2003)
Yeesh. I mean, I was never on the Wynonna and Naomi bandwagon that much to begin with, but this inspirational, self-help/recovery album is such so drearily serious and self-important... and so stuffy! I mean, I guess for diehard fans, Wynonna makes as good a guru/prophet as any, but for the rest of us, her philosophizing and deeply intoned vocals seem kinda silly. I guess, once again, that I am just not the "target audience." Let's just leave it at that.

Wynonna Judd "Her Story: Scenes From A Lifetime" (Curb, 2005)
A 2-CD live set...

Wynonna Judd "Sing, Chapter 1" (Curb, 2009)


Wynonna Judd "Collection" (Curb, 1997)
(Produced by Tony Brown & Don Potter)



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