DARLENE RANDEL sings You Are My Man (Starway Records – date unknown)

Darlene Randel Darlene Randel

Darlene Randel came to Nashville on a Monday and was in the studio cutting her first record that same week. Thats what the record cover says anyway. The design is so completely generic (a straw cowboy hat on the cover and a head shot on the back) that it leads you to believe that “Starway Records” was cutting a lot of peoples first Nashville records. Or maybe not, I can’t find any info on this singer or the label.

It took patience to get through the first two songs. Both were down tempo love songs. Plenty of slide guitar and piano twinkles. The absolute slooooooowness of songs is kind of a theme of this record. Its excruciating to listen to but oddly sort of compelling. After a while the songs take on kind of a country-dirge sound in their unrelenting lack of energy. Track 3 spiced it up with a white bread take on a “Blue Spanish Eyes,” which again is played so slowly that ends up sounding like a kind of b-movie horror sequence soundtrack.

“Please, please dont cry.
This is adios, not good-bye.”

The last two tracks on side one are covers, and both are absolutely terrible.

Side two is what really shoots Darlene Randel into the bizarre record hall of fame. Its obvious that they are reaching towards that country-rock Roger McGuinn style (Baby Please Don’t take that Plane). But its still too slow and comes off sounding like a bad interpretation. On track two we are treated to Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” as played by a malfunctioning animatronic Chucky Cheese band. On track 3 she yodels (Oke Doke Yodel). Track 4 is a duet with an uncredited male parter on a rollicking ode to getting fucked up on moonshine “Homebrew.” Its the best song on the record.

“you can drink it from a jar,
you can burn it in your car
and it your tractor too.”

The record ends with a real downer of a tune called “There goes my everything” which is about as pitiful as it sounds. I had to wonder if she could already see this record in the dollar bin at the downtown Lawrence antique mall when she recorded this 30 (or so) years ago.

My record is signed by Darlene. Its says:

“Keep America Singing Country Music All Over the World
Especially for Gilbert and Loraine
Thanks for Inspiring the Music World around US.
As Ever,
Darlene”

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