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Carlene Carter - C’Est C Bon

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 10 / 5 / 2018

Carlene Carter - C’Est C Bon
Label: Retoworld
Format: CD


Fifth electro-influenced album from country pop star Carlene Carter, which originally released in 1983, does not stand up well because of its extremely dated production

For us here on this side of the Atlantic (i.e. Europe), Carlene Carter is mostly famous for three things – the 1993 hit single ‘Every Little Thing’, being Johnny Cash’s stepdaughter and that she used to be married to Nick Lowe. Sadly, only one of these things has to do with her music, and the other two are because of her connection to two men. But I guess that’s what the music business is like for many women today, which is a great shame. Anyway, we are here to talk about Carlene’s music, and more precisely about her fifth album, ‘C’est C Bon’, originally released back in 1983, and now reissued by Retroworld. Carter started out recording a couple of albums in the more traditional country pop genre, working with the likes of Brinsley Schwartz, Graham Parker and future husband Nick Lowe. None of these albums made an impression on the record buyers, and they are now more or less forgotten, which can also be said about her following two, records released on the then-hip label F-Beat (home of Elvis Costello among others). On the first of those albums, ‘Musical Shapes’, she worked with Lowe’s outfit Rockpile, and he also produced the album as well. For this album, she continued to work with some of her previous musical partners, but she also wanted to break away from her past efforts. Instead, she opted for a more electronic sound, probably a way to adapt to the trends of 1983 and try to reach a new audience. Well, it didn’t really succeed, as this fifth album is just as ignored was the first four. And looking back on it now, thirty-five years later, I’m not really surprised. Sure, the songs are good, some of them written by well known songwriters, like the aforementioned Lowe and the future star of Climie Fisher, Simon Climie. And I can’t say anything bad about Carlene’s delivery either. She’s a good singer, no doubt about it. But, the production and overall sound is… well, dated. To say the least. There are tons of electro records from that year that still sounds as fresh as a daisy, but this isn’t one of them. Which is sad, but also probably one of the reasons that it’s been largely forgotten about. I would guess that this reissue will prove interesting for the diehard Carlene Carter fan. The rest of us can save our money and buy something else from Retroworld, as they have a lot of great releases in their back catalogue.

Track Listing:-
1 Meant It For A Minute
2 Heart To Heart
3 Third Time Charm
4 Heart's In Traction
5 I'm The Kinda Sugar Daddy Likes
6 Breathless
7 Love Like A Glove
8 Cool Reaction
9 Don't Give My Heart A Break
10 That Boy
11 One Way Ticket
12 Patient Love

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