Saturday, September 5, 2015

"I Couldn't Say No" by Robert Ellis Orrall with Carlene Carter

Song#:  1392
Date:  03/26/1983
Debut:  75
Peak:  32
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Singer/songwriter Orrall started out gigging at clubs around Boston with his band in the late 70s. A couple of indie albums he recorded caught the ear of RCA who signed him to a deal in 1981. His debut LP, "Fixation," didn't really get people fixated on his tunes, but his second stab, "Special Pain" got some attention thanks to this first single, a duet with singer Carlene Carter. The song did well peaking just shy of the Top 30. For both artists, it would be their one and only pop chart entry. Orrall and Carter would later continue their careers in the country market where Orrall scored three chart entries as a solo act while Carter grabbed three Top 10 hits (oddly, all peaking at #3). Orrall would join fellow songwriter Curtis Wright in a duo called (appropriately) Orrall & Wright. They would record one album that would produce a couple of minor country chart singles.

ReduxReview:  I always thought this was a slightly odd song. The three sections of the song (verse, bridge, chorus) almost seem like three separate ideas - like each one was taken from another song and then stitched together. I doubt that was the case, but it is a little Frankenstein-ish. However, I think that is what makes the song so interesting. It all works together quite well and when the chorus hits, the song really soars. The vocals are awesome as well. I bought this single back then and the more I play it, the more I love it. It's a shame the single didn't go higher. It's far better than what its #32 peak would indicate. A true lost hit of the 80s.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) Although Orrall's solo career never fully took flight, he became a sought after songwriter and ended up penning several hits for country artists like Reba McEntire, Shenandoah, and Martina McBride. He also continued writing for pop artists including Lindsey Lohan who recorded Orrall's "Ultimate" for the "Freaky Friday" soundtrack in 2003. He also contributed/produced two songs for Taylor Swift. One appeared on her self-titled debut album and the other appeared on a 2008 EP titled "Beautiful Eyes."  2) Orrall's brother Frank originated and still fronts the popular alt rock band Poi Dog Pondering.  3) Carlene is the daughter of June Carter (Cash) and Carl Smith, who was June's first husband.


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