Picks and Pans Review: Survivor

UPDATED 03/13/1989 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/13/1989 at 01:00 AM EST

Lacy J. Dalton

Most of this country album's 10 songs belong on the continuum that starts with crying-in-your-beer self-pity and ends with Unsinkable Molly Brown, tough-it-out pride. Kris Kristofferson's "The Heart" ("If they do you down and dirty/you'll feel better if you take it like a man") and the Dalton-Lewis Anderson tune "Walking Wounded" tend to the feeling-sorry-for-yourself end of the scale. "Hard Luck Ace," a Dalton-Aaron Anderson song that celebrates the supposed rise-above-it heroics of Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Janis Joplin and Hank Williams Jr., falls somewhere in the middle. "I'm a Survivor," by Mark Erwin and Bill Tinker, suggests defiance, and—including this song was a masterstroke—Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years" puts ironic perspective on the whole business. Dalton doesn't just seem to cop an attitude for the fun, or art, of it. She seems to be sulking about the way she was treated by her former label, Columbia. (The implication is that she feels she was insufficiently publicized.) She has said this album "emerged out of the truth of what I had been through. I think that because I had been through such a difficult time just trying to keep my business alive. Those songs seemed to emerge from that fire." The results, while Dalton sometimes sounds as if she is protesting too much, suggest that she had a real emotional investment in this project. If she was trying to prove that she can still be as penetrating as any country singer around, she succeeded. (Universal)

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