Album ReviewsWHERE THE FAST LANE ENDS
After the disappointing Seasons, the Oak Ridge Boys return with a new album in 1987, Where The Fast Lane Ends. I'm not sure if that title is a premonition of things to come, or just a coincidence. Nevertheless, the Oaks find themselves back at #1 in the singles chart, and rightfully so.
Where The Fast Lane Ends yielded two #1 singles. The first hit "It Takes A Little Rain (To Make Love Grow)" is an absolutely phenomenal song. If it were possible to go higher than #1, it would have gone there. The second hit "This Crazy Love" is an equally good radio song, with delightful harmonies.
Before getting into the rest of the songs on this album, this reviewer would like to point out that the song "Looking For Love", an up tempo number sung by Joe Bonsall, is an excellent song, but somehow found it's way onto the b-side of the first single, which usually indicates that the artist/record label deemed the song a throwaway. I couldn't possibly disagree more. "Looking For Love" is a fun, foot tapping rocker that is truly the high energy point of the album.
I mention the "high energy point" of the album, because that was easily achieved due to the very somber, woeful tone of the rest of the songs on the album. I'm not saying that they are bad songs by any stretch of the imagination. However, songs like "A Little Love Can Go A Long Long Way", "Love Has A Mind Of It's Own" and "A Little Late To Say Goodbye" are very blue. One could wonder if this had anything to do with the impending departure of William Lee Golden shortly after this album came out. For the most part, this album lacks the overall cheeriness of your basic Oak Ridge Boys recording.
Speaking of William Lee Golden, he performs his Oak Ridge Boys swan song on the last cut of the album, "Rainbow At Midnight" also featuring Joe Walsh and Patti Labelle. This is a very good song.
For whatever reason, bass singer Richard Sterban, is vividly absent from lead vocal duties on this record. This could, perhaps, have something to do with a new producer for the Oaks. Jimmy Bowen is the new man at the control board after 13 consecutive albums produced by Ron Chancey. After the last two albums didn't fare well in the charts, it appears the Oaks and MCA wanted to go in a different direction.
With a couple of mega hits, an upbeat rocker,
and a handful of sad and sappy love songs, this is a bit of a different release
for the Oaks, but a very good record nonetheless.