52: Who I Am (Alan Jackson)

Album: Who I Am
Artist: Alan Jackson
Year: 1994

1. Summertime Blues
2. Livin’ on Love
3. Hole in the Wall
4. Gone Country
5. Who I Am
6. You Can’t Give Up On Love
7. I Don’t Even Know Your Name
8. Song for the Life
9. Thank God for the Radio
10. All American Country Boy
11. Job Descripion
12. If I Had You
13. Let’s Get Back to Me and You

Jackson’s career took off pretty fast and hit it’s first high note with Chattahoochee, on this third album. He’s had some pretty amazing songs, including She’s Got the Rhythm (and I’ve Got the Blues) and Midnight in Montgomery, but most of his albums contain one or two songs that are just trying to be too cute. This album pretty much stays away from that.

It starts with a pretty decent cover of Summertime Blues, then rattles off a couple of #1 hits in Livin’ on Love and Gone County, the latter being one of Alan’s more creatively composed songs. I initially placed Hole in the Wall in the “too cute” category, and it is silly, but over the years it’s grown on me, mostly because deep down it’s a really depressing song (about a guy who completely flips out after noticing a nail hole where a picture of his ex used to hang).

Oh I guess a saner man
Would simply paint it
But I’m not sane and after all
It’s my wall, ain’t it
I’ve got this hammer in my hand
And when I’m through
There’ll be a hole in that wall
Big enough to drive a truck through

The middle of the album is where Who I Am really heats up. I Don’t Even Know Your Name is a fun ditty about a guy who gets so drunk he accidentally marries his ugly waitress, and Song for the Life is easily my favorite. a wonderful ballad by Rodney Crowell. Job Description is my third favorite on the album. The album ends pretty weakly, as there is no reason to have those final two songs. But eleven solid songs in a row was enough to make the countdown.

Sidebar: I find it annoying that 99% of country album covers are just a picture of the artist. Is that just the safe thing to do?  They make them completely unmemorable.

3 thoughts on “52: Who I Am (Alan Jackson)”

  1. I have noticed, and maligned, that thing on your sidebar. Why would an entire genre be so completely devoid of originality in that sense? Country does have a lot of the old “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” mentality, so maybe it’s to safeguard the artists from looking like they aren’t on board with the message?

    Hip-hop sort of does that too, though every few years, it changes. I think most of them are so obsessed with their images that they figure emulating the big ones is the way to go. The worst was in the mid-to-late nineties when they were all these garish, pretentious covers with an upshot of the artist looking huge and their names in huge, ugly diamonds. Everyone did it for a few years, and then nobody did it again. Rap covers have gotten pretty artsy in the past few years, which is a trend I’m well in favor of.

  2. Besides the humor of “I Don’t Even Know Your Name”, I love the instrumental section at the end. Clint Black had a few songs with some good sections like that too.

    1. Clint Black won’t make the countdown because nearly all of his non-singles are pretty dull. But yes, he had several good instrument solos that got cut for the radio. He’s killer with the harmonica.

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