Album ReviewsFANCY FREE
Ya ever have one of those days where everything just seems to go just right? Well, the Oak Ridge Boys were having one of those years. The single 'Elvira' was released before the album 'Fancy Free' came out, and it was a smash hit, of course. Then they proceeded to release an album that not only started off with 'Elvira', but went on to treat you to nine more wonderful songs. In a time when artists released 3 or 4 singles on an album, the biggest selling album in the Oak Ridge Boys career only yielded two singles. Of course, they were both huge number one hits, but this album had SO much more to offer. There are zero filler songs on this record. Every song is meat and potatoes, and you find yourself singing along to each and every one as if they were ALL single material.
In a strange way, the huge
success of 'Elvira' and 'I'm Settin' Fancy Free' almost overshadowed the sheer
genius of this record. That is a very good problem to have, mind you, but
the other eight songs on this album are overlooked and underrated due to the
mega success of the singles. This album is arguably the height of the Oak
career, but they would certainly ride a wave of success paralleled by few for
years to come.
Outstanding Cuts: all
Cut Outs: none
In 1981, the entire country was singing "oom papa mow mow" to a catchy tune entitled "Elvira." While this song has become the Oaks' signature hit, it is NOT the only reason to purchase "Fancy Free," the album "Elvira" ORIGINALLY appeared on.
This album was unique from the beginning in my opinion. "Elvira" was recorded at the end of 1980, the first cut for the album (in fact, the album had not even completed production when the single was released, thus no album credits were given on the original 45). The album was released just as the song began crossing over from the country to the pop charts, which gave it nearly instant platinum status. You would think that the title of the album would be "Elvira." WRONG. The Boys, knowing that people would already know the album for "Elvira," cleverly titled it by their SECOND single release, "I'm Settin' Fancy Free." This gave the follow-up more attention upon release.
As far as songs go, this album has it all. From the landmark crossover smash to the genuinely-country "Dream of Me," to the tear-jerking ballad "When Love Calls You," there's something here for everyone. There's even a high-energy gospel song included at the end (reiterating the fact that now matter how big they may become, the Oaks will always be rooted in Gospel music).
Today, you can almost literally pick up any country compilation CD and find "Elvira" on it. This album is reason enough to go beyond the "oom papa mow mow"s and see what the Oaks are really about.