10 Classic Country Albums Turning 40 This Year

From Tanya Tucker's decidedly Outlaw 'T.N.T' to Waylon Jennings' romanticizing 'I've Always Been Crazy'

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Crystal Gayle, 'When I Dream' (United Artists)
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Crystal Gayle, 'When I Dream' (United Artists)

Peak, late-Seventies Countrypolitan, emphasis on the -politan. Loretta Lynn's little sister followed up crossover smash "Don't It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue" from the year before with "Talking in Your Sleep," a queasy piano-and-strings ballad that speaks of more blue eyes on the way, and then with the gauzy, show-tuned title track, which feels like she's walking around in her sleep – the better to keep from taking to her bed forever. This contrast is always front and center in Gayle's best work. Her dulcet voice shimmers and floats easily atop loping rhythms, but then it goes dull behind the eyes and smashes like glass. The embittered "Why Have You Left the One You Left Me For" isn’t disco, but its line-dance beats could still move the crowd – and quiet readings of Ian Tyson's "Someday Soon" and Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone" could move you to tears. Call it Crystalpolitan, emphasis on the Crystal. 

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