RELEASE
1979
LABEL
Columbia
GENRES
Country, Contemporary Country, Neo-Traditionalist Country

Album Review

On her debut American release (she'd done a record in Germany that she now disowns), Rosanne Cash may not have shaken the money tree or the Billboard charts, but she and husband/producer/collaborator Rodney Crowell began to change the face of contemporary country music forever. Recorded in L.A. and not Nash Vegas, Right or Wrong still utilized talent synonymous with Music City, but the sound that took country and merged it with the rock and pop styles of the day was a winning formula. Crowell and Cash made the song selections while Rodney called in Emmylou Harris's band (of which he was an alumnus) and some up and comers and created a sonic palette that accented the brave new world of stripped-down mixes and songs that came from the left field of country or pop (the European version of the album featured a Lennon/McCartney tune). Here are nods to the past and heritage in her father's "Big River," a couple of outlaw tunes from Keith Sykes (the title track and "Take Me, Take Me"), as well as the stunning ballad "Couldn't Do Nothing Right" by Karen Brooks and Gary P. Nunn. Jerry Jeff Walker recorded a hell of a version in the early '70s, but the crooning sorrow and ache in the grain of Cash's voice and the faux Caribbean rhythm behind a pedal steel-driven melody line make it an entirely different song. Speaking of voice, Cash is most comfortable singing her own searing ballads such as "This Has Happened Before," Crowell's "No Memories Hanging' Round," "Seeing's Believing," and "Anybody's Darlin." But Crowell's "Baby, Start Turnin' Em Down" is perhaps the strongest track on the album as it combines a restless country shuffle, a rocker's minor key blues riff, and a deliberate nod to Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through the Grapevine" and Motown. Right or Wrong only got to number 42 on the Billboard chart, but it did make radio take notice that something new was about to happen, and on Seven Year Ache, the follow-up to this fine album, the floodgates opened.
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Right or Wrong
  2. Take Me, Take Me
  3. Man Smart (Woman Smarter)
  4. This Has Happend Before
  5. Baby, Better Start Turnin' Em Down
  6. No Memories Hangin' Round
  7. Couldn't Do Nothin' Right
  8. Seeing's Believing
  9. Big River
  10. Anybody's Darlin' (Anything but Mine)