ALBUM REVIEW: Rosanne Cash, Seven Year Ache

Don’t you hate it when you have a wad of cash in your pocket, yet you don’t have enough to buy your music haul. What do you do? Instead of putting a cd or album back, or maybe even multiple items, you can use your credit card! Yes, that is always the answer when one cannot afford their full load with cash.

Just make sure you pay it off the next month, interest is a disgusting little bug.


Recently, when I sat and watched the needle decipher those vinyl groves, I had a since of cash, credit, and interest. These words usually cause high anxiety in my life, were actually quite enjoyable. This album was Seven Year Ache, by Rosanne Cash.

Rosanne in herself has an interesting history and achieved high commercial success with this album. This was her second album after her self titled debut. This album climbed the charts to number one and produced three number one singles on the country charts.

This album creates a concoction of rock, blues, and country, in other words, Rockabilly. I would consider it one of the most modern recordings of this genre, although it came out in 1981. I knew that Rosanne had inducted the queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson, and cited her as a tremendous influence on her music, but it became very obvious once I listened to this album. This is in no way a copy, but a legendary influence. Music gives birth to more music.

The album opens with “Rainin’.” A great opener, this song has both electric and acoustic guitar. It sounds both country and rock. This is an uptempo song, but it has a downside. The song’s content is about how it’s “rainin’ in her soul” because he left her. Not to mention, Rosanne’s voice is extremely, in my opinion, bluesy and brings another twist upon this song, well the whole album to be exact.

Wombleton Records

Next is the album’s namesake, and number one single, “Seven Year Ache.” This song possesses both country and rock components, with a steady, in my opinion, “sock hop” beat. Rosanne penned this song and it is the only one that has the lyrics printed on the album sleeve. Lyrically, this song is both intriguing and universal. We all find ourselves in a slump or “ache,” where no matter where you are or who you are around matters, all while keeping a smile upon our face. My favorite lyric: “Don’t you know heartaches are heroes when their pockets are full?”

The rest of side A keeps the country, blues, and rock feel. She follows with another number one single “Blue Moon With Heartache.” This song is a mid-tempo ballad that Rosanne wrote herself. Next is “What Kinda Girl?” This song just sets the record straight for any man interesting in Ms. Cash, in a fast, two-stepping fashion. Lastly, this side provides “You Don’t Have to Go Very Far.” This song contains, both lyrically and musically, classic country roots. This could highly be attributed to it being co-written by Merle Haggard.

Side B opens with another number one single, “My Baby Thinks He’s a Train.” This song is distinctively country, not quite classic, but coming off a 70’s wave. It expresses how she is with such a high paced man that it drives her insane and that she is “dragged around like an old caboose.” This song is cleverly written, with Emmylou Harris doing background vocals.

Rosanne follows with “Only Human,” a mid-tempo ballad asking why she is treated like she is not human. Vince Gill provides backing vocals. One of my personal favorites, “Where Will the Words Come From” follows. This song is a ballad that expresses her need to move on, yet she doesn’t know how to tell him she doesn’t love him or need him anymore. The words always seem to escape her. Harris also provides backing vocals for this track.

“Hometown Blues,” written by Tom Petty, really shows a modern Rockabilly set. It’s upbeat, but very blue considering its content.  She even vocally “growls” during this song. A distinctive technic used by all the greats.

The album concludes with something I have never heard, a country ballad, that has classic pop standard attributes. “I Can’t Resist” makes great use of a horn and string section. I often judge an album off it’s first and last song, and this proves my technique works. Rosanne’s bluesy tone is tempting while expressing her own temptation. So this song has components of country, rock, blues, and pop standard. This is the true hidden gem of the album.

After listening to this record I have become quite a fan of Rosanne Cash, mainly because of her vocals. Her voice seems to express emotion like I haven’t heard. Her songs are not musically climatic, yet her delivery is potent. Her voice seems to possess a similar tone between songs, but you can always tell the mood of the song, whether it is lonely, confused, or sassy. I believe there may be an echo of her father in there.

So I first give Rosanne cash. For she is from this legendary lineage, and I payed cash for her album. It was worth every penny.

Second, I give Rosanne credit. She didn’t need her father to prove she was musical. She is completely independent of his long black shadow. She also wrote two of the number one songs on the album.

Lastly, I give Rosanne interest, which can often be scary in my collection. Every Rosanne album I find will be bought. She also deserves the interest, for her voice is completely intriguing and technically indescribable.

So I guess I shouldn’t be so anxious about cash, credit, and interest. Sometimes you just can’t resist, bills keep rainin’ and you fall into a seven year ache over one purchase, but, at least this time, it is completely worth it.

An acoustic version of “Seven Year Ache.”

Published by

Gabe Crawford

Spiritual. Thinker. Music fanatic. Vinyl enthusiast.

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