Harper Valley P.T.A.: Jeannie C. Riley

Rating: 80%

Jeannie-C-Riley-Harper-Valley-PTAReleased in 1968, “Harper Valley P.T.A.” was Jeannie C. Riley’s second LP and the title track itself was the first ever to top both the Billboard 100 Pop and Country Music charts. Riley was also known for her sex appeal, keeping up with women’s fashions of the time, which included the minidress and miniskirt. Her influence would be among Country music female vocalists for decades to come. Riley ruled the female country artist scene for much the late 1960’s and early 1970’s before changing her style to Gospel.

Musically, what we have here is classic Country music without the orchestra/strings like so many artists recorded with. The music is straight forward. The song structures are basic songs that do not exceed the three or four minute mark. There’s a variety of tempos and good melodies are matched with good harmonies on the vocals. The organ work is a nice touch to the record being more toward the background. Jeannie C. Riley vocal work is pretty impressive for the time. It doesn’t take long to understand why she was so popular as a signer. Four song lyrics were written by Tom T. Hall and none of the other songs were actually written by Jeannie C. Riley, herself.

The guitar work; electric and acoustic is really good. There is a great collection of rhythms and some lead licks. The electric guitar work on Mr. Harper is the highlight on this album. You hear the singer being answered by the steel guitar/guitar talk box every time she asked a question.

Highlights on this record include “Harper Valley P.T.A.” When I heard this song, I couldn’t help to think that I hear this story all of the time on the news. It talks about a teenager being sent home for breaking the dress code. Toward the end of the song, the tables are turned by the mother when she attended the P.T.A. meeting and point out the faults of the faculty. “Mr. Harper” just because of the guitar work itself. “Run Jeannie Run” and “Satan Place” are good songs too.

Track Listing:

Harper Valley P.T.A. 3:12
Widow Jones 2:42
No Brass Band 2:25
Mr. Harper 2:07
Run Jeannie Run 3:22
Shed Me No Tears 2:20
The Cotton Patch 3:40
Sippin’ Shirley Thompson2:02
The Little Town Square 2:10
The Ballad Of Louise 2:51
Satan Place 3:20

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