This is the second in a series of articles I've authored about spending my quarantine time with Terry Bradshaw products. See the first one, covering his bourbon here.
Most of us view Terry Bradshaw as the four-time Superbowl winning Hall of Fame quarterback, the crazy TV homeless man that Fox allows to wander onto their set, or a warning of what Ben might one day become.
But Bradshaw is a renaissance man: he’s acted in numerous films, most famously Cannonball Run and Failure to Launch (where we meet little Terry and it’s uncomfortable), he has a bourbon label now, and perhaps most notably Terry has a strange and ill-informed country music career.
As of writing this, we've gotten to the point in quarantining where the masochism has set in. So, I decided with the help of Pittsburgh Brewing Company Products (sponsor me) and Terry’s own bourbon label (more on that in the previous article) to tackle his first album: 1976’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”.
A couple of Steelers and ex-Steelers have tried their hand at music with…limited success, but I would argue that Terry makes Antonio Brown and Le’veon Bell look mildly competent. Sure both of them really shouldn’t rap ever again, but no one is actively encouraging them to continue, they’re doing that on their own.
Terry cut this record on a real major label, with producer and session musician Jerry Kennedy, who has four grammys to his name, so there was real money behind this.
Originally I planned on looking for a copy of this fine album on vinyl, but with the world falling apart around me, I had to settle for listening to it through youtube because it doesn’t really exist anywhere else.
To be fair to Terry, before I skewer this nightmare of an album, a lot of people in the comments seem to actually like his singing, so don’t take my word for it. I mean this guy seems pretty legit:
Finding all the tracks on this album is an absolute nightmare. I’m at least partially certain that the Rooney’s, or maybe even the NFL have purged most of it from the internet Soviet Union style in order to save face.
The album starts off with “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry” a Hank Williams cover (the good one, not the Macho Man impersonator). Whereas the original isn’t a fast song Williams sings it in a way the keep the song lively.
On the other hand, Terry has a way of distorting time and space so that the 2:46 seconds feels like the longest hour of your life. Terry takes his time crooning each word giving you plenty of time to finish a couple brews.
I can’t put all the blame on Terry’s voice though. Part of the problem with the track and the album in general, is the orchestration. There are cheesy strings playing through everything that takes away any tiny bit of character. And there’s a persistent clicking that sounds like someone forgot to turn off a metronome, which leaves you with this karaoke kinda feel to the whole thing.
In the “Last Word in Lonesome is Me” a reflective track that caused me to look back at my own life choices, particularly listening to this, Terry tries to hit some high notes in the style of Patsy Cline.
A mercifully short track, by this point you start to think that you could probably play a drinking game where you take a drink whenever Terry sings the word lonesome, if you have friends they can drink when he says lonely.
“Here Comes My Baby Back Again” has a real honky tonk feel to it. I think it might be the best track on the album. Either that or by this point, I’ve been aurally assaulted into submission by karaoke style sing alongs and drank enough sazeracs and Cliff Stou(d)ts (see recipe here) to just kinda go with it.
The album ends with “Take these Chains From My Heart” sung in the style of a vapid James Taylor b-side. One of the impressive things about this album is since these are all pretty much covers, is that you can look up better versions of the songs and really see what effect Terry has on them.
This isn’t the worst vocal performance by Terry, but it the slow coasting tempo of the song doesn’t allow Terry to really end this album with a bang. I was hoping for something really awful where he could really belt it out. This album needed to end on a cover of “My Way” and instead goes out with a whimper.
If you’re not sure you’re ready for the sublime experience that is “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry” Look for his 2011 Christmas single “Lights of Louisiana”. It will give you the same painful and uncomfortable feeling of your uncle belting out karaoke at strip club in “honor” of those boys who didn’t make it back from ‘Nam.
For those who are looking for advanced Terry listening, check out “Dimestore Jesus” which is truly an abomination.