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Mandy Barnett

I've Got a Right to Cry – 1999 (Sire)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Mandy Barnett

Mandy Barnett first gained notoriety as Patsy Cline in a Ryman Auditorium show, "Always...Patsy Cline." And after showing she had the goods on her 1996 debut, she is finally back and most importantly in excellent form.

Barnett still certainly retains The Patsy feel vocally with the producers letting her sometimes torchy voice shine throughout. It's a powerful instrument that is never overused. Barnett can evoke utter sadness (the title track and "Give Myself A Party" where she holds the notes with ease) contained in the lyrics. Perhaps the person sounding closest to Barnett today vocally is Heather Myles. The musical accompaniment, almost always miked well beneath Barnett's sad, but beautiful vocals, is marked by a decided simplicity with zero nods to today's overwrought pop country sound. A few guitar licks here and there ("The Whispering Wind") spice the songs, but there is no showboating.

And that is no doubt due to the production of the late, great Owen Bradley. He died after producing four songs, leaving brother Harold and nephew Bobby and Barnett to finish the cohesive effort. Not only will this serve as a closing testament to Bradley's great legacy, but reaffirm the promise and talent of Barnett.