Linda Hargrove
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Linda Hargrove

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COUNTRY SONG ROUND-UP UK 2005

‘Blue Jean Country Queen’, Linda Hargrove is a tried-and-tested country-rock talent who has fully paid all her professional dues. She comes up with an ‘in-your-face’ autobiographical musical statement that is wholly unapologetic, direct-to-the-point and even ‘sassy’ at times. What I mean is that this brilliant down-to-basics album brings forward an artsy female in strident independent stance. Gospel is here, but Linda’s down-to-earth female perceptive is well illustrated by her country chart toppers. A nostalgic collection worthy of revival, this 5 star repertoire is a wonderful selection that embraces conservative balladry and country-rock from a husky-throated songwriter of quality pedigree. This 12 tracker releasing in 2005 recalls Linda at the height of her boom-time and sure to be welcomed back by her dyed-in-the-wool fans. PAUL DAVIS
- PAUL DAVIS


LINDA HARGROVE PEDAL PUSHER
Headed straight for country.
BY BARBARA CHARONE

NASHVILLE—"Ever since I started cutting records I've gone through identity hassles," Linda Hargrove said. "My singing isn't traditional country but it's not pure rock & roll. I don't like labels but I'd rather be labeled a country artist even though I was raised on rock & roll. Rock people say I'm country and country people say I'm rock. Here I am saying, well what am I?"
Linda Hargrove is representative of a new wave in country music, made by a generation of pickers weaned on Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones. In the same breath she'll cite Pete Townsend and Hank Williams as influences. A singer/songwriter, Hargrove came to Nashville to learn the country craft.
"I just got fed up, rock & rolled out," said the 25-year-old musician. "The earthier and simpler the music, the better. I grew into country after I got here. I mean I used to think C&W was all cornbread and bouffant hairdos but there are so many creative people here, you've just got to find your niche and tap into it."
The man responsible for helping her find her niche was steel player Pete Drake. Upstairs over his studio, the office walls are lined with artifacts from his career. There're pictures of Pete and George, Pete and Ringo, Pete and Dylan as well as awards. Drake, who's done much to strengthen the bonds between country and rock, seemed a natural for giving this new music a professional push.
"I'll tell ya what Dylan did," Drake said. "He put the pedal steel in pop music. I have cut with just about everybody from Elvis to Joan Baez and they would never accept the steel guitar. Nashville Skyline cinched it. I'd go play a show and the kids wouldn't say 'what is that thing?' They knew."
The Dylan material drove Hargrove away from Florida rock bands to Nashville. "The first album I ever heard Pete play pedal steel on, even before I came to Nashville, was Dylan's. It just knocked me out!"
Arriving in Nashville, Hargrove discovered it wasn't the paradise she had hoped for. Hard times followed until Sandy Posey decided to record one of her songs. Sitting in at the session was Drake, who expressed interest in her material, as he had just established a production company geared to young C&W artists. After receiving offers from prospective producers interested only in female companionship, Hargrove was pessimistic.
"I'd been tossed around so much that I thought it was just another offer. Men in the music business just didn't take women seriously. They assumed all you wanted was a husband but I wanted to play," she said.
"I've produced a lot of names," said Drake, "but to help mold and develop music—then you've really done something. All I try to do is bring the best out of my artists."
"There're not too many women I respect in this business because they let other people run their careers," Hargrove said. "Sure I let Pete direct me because he's my producer but I don't let him shape my life. He'd never tell me what to wear or how to act."
Ex-Monkee Mike Nesmith met her while he was in Nashville looking for songs to cut on Garland Frady for Elektra's short-lived Countryside label. He heard her play and sing and offered her a round-trip ticket to California to play on the album.. While there he took her to the Elektra offices.
"We went into this tiny room with only one electric guitar and no amplifier at all. The sound was absolutely terrible. I played two songs and when it was over they said, 'What do you want?'"
"Linda really wants to be a country artist," Drake said, "but with her first album she didn't know what she wanted to do. She had worked with a rock band but after playing to country audiences, she decided that was the way she wanted to go. Linda had never heard much country music till about three years ago. Her melodies were great but her lyrics . . . well I'm a hillbilly and I couldn't understand most of them so I started taking her to recording sessions so she could hear writers like Tom T. Hall. It's awfully hard for Linda to write a simple three-chord song 'cause she plays so much guitar. But I'm glad she doesn't 'cause there's a big difference with this new music. Most of your country songwriters can't play but three chords."
By the time her second album was recorded, Hargrove headed straight for country,
"I can really see this year being the year of young country music. Nashville is definitely warming to it; even the more established artists now accept us."
Hargrove thinks it's third-generation country but Drake just calls it music:
"I'm sure this new music will appeal to a rock audience because it already has. But the bad part of the music business is the country, pop and R&B charts. There should be only one chart because there're only two kinds of music, good and bad. When a country record sells over 100,000 records, it suddenly becomes a pop record."
"But you can't overplay country music," she said. "The important thing is the song. Country music is very real but I think this new music is even more real. It's not about how life could be or should be—it's about how life is."


- ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE 1975


WAYLON JENNINGS
LINDA HARGROVE
The Bottom Line, New York
Country music's new breed roared into this New York club Aug 2 and showed its strength in this city. Linda Hargrove opened the show and displayed an intimate style that delighted the audience made up of many different varieties of country music fans.
A great songwriter in her own right, Ms. Hargrove is also a fine vocalist. Her band is composed of young musicians and they all have a natural feel for her flowing compositions. Another plus factor in this group is the addition of Larry Ballard, a new country singer who also records for Elektra. His voice was pleasing when he sang a duet with her.
One of the best songs in (he set was a tune penned for Tanya Tucker, "New York City Song." ' It seemed to take on new meaning that night, almost like the words still held true for her. This group could be a fine college attraction as they appeal to any country audience, as well as the corps country rock fans.
Waylon Jennings headlined the show and gave another one of his hard-hitting sets that included more than 21 tunes. He is probably country music's most popular performer in this city and his set was reviewed in Billboard several weeks ago.
JIM FISHHEL
AUGUST 31,1974, BILLBOARD
- BILLBOARD MAGAZINE - 1974


Yes, there is way too much Americana product.

But one of the good things about having such a big umbrella is that the movement can embrace all of the radio exiles who used to be hit makers as well as its own developing stars.

Today we hear from former major-label stars Poco, Beyond Reach and Linda Hargrove. All of them are still making vital music that deserves to be heard. Play them alongside youngsters like C.C. Adcock, Kevin Gordon and Amy Speace and you’ve got yourself one heck of a format.

LINDA HARGROVE/ God Bless The Wine
Writer: Linda Hargrove;
Producer: Linda Hargrove;
Publisher: Linda Hargrove, BMI; Panacea
(track) (www.lindahargrove.com)
—Hargrove was a key Nashville songwriter for many years, with George Jones’ “Tennessee Whiskey,” Lynn Anderson’s “I’ve Never Loved Anyone More,” Johnny Rodriguez’s “Just Get Up and Close the Door,” Olivia Newton-John’s “Let it Shine” and more to her credit. Diagnosed with leukemia in 1986, she returned to her native Florida to recover. Her self-produced Americana comeback CD is titled One Woman’s Life. It leads off with this lovely, resonating, inspirational track. Someone ought to cover this sterling composition pronto. - @Music Row Magazine


The disc is a luminous chronicle of her remarkable career. Hargrove's own versions of such compositions as "Tennessee Whiskey" (a hit for George Jones) and "I've Never Loved Anyone More" (which she co-wrote with ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith) share sonic space with more recently crafted songs like "Pretty Little Panacea," a paean to the place she now calls home.

The CD is called "One Woman's Life." Don't be deceived by the title's homespun humility, or that of its unassuming creator. This woman's journey is packed with enough drama, pathos, pain, redemption and deep, abiding joy for multiple lifetimes.
- Kati Schardl - Tallahassee Democrat 7/31/05


Discography

ALBUMS
1973 - "Music is Your Mistress" - Elektra Records EKS-75063
1974 - "Blue Jean Country Queen" - Elektra Records 7E-1013
1975 - "Love, You're The Teacher" - Capitol Records ST-11463
1976 - "Just Like You" - Capitol Records ST-11564
1977 - "Impressions" - Capitol Records ST-11685
1982 - "A New Song" - Fig Tree Records n/a
1989 - "Greater Works" - ThreeFold Productions n/a
2005 - "One Woman's Life" - Panacea Productons PPL-01

SINGLES
"Fallen Angel" 1973 ELEKTRA #: 45854
"Let It Shine" 1973 ELEKTRA #: 45870
"Blue Jean Country Queen" 1974 ELEKTRA #: 45204
"I Never Loved Anymore More" 1974 ELEKTRA #: 45215
"What If We're Running Out Of Love" 1974 ELEKTRA #: 45877
"Love Was (Once Around The Dance Floor) 1975 CAPITOL #: 4153
"Love, You're The Teacher" 1976 CAPITOL #: 4228
"Fire At First Sight" 1976 CAPITOL #: 4283
"Most Of All" 1976 CAPITOL #: 4355
"Down To My Pride" 1977 CAPITOL #: 4390
"Mexican Love Songs" 1977 CAPITOL #: 4447
"You Are Still The One" 1978 RCA #: 11378

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Bio

Linda Hargrove - The Original Blue Jean Country Queen. This Florida-born woman - child of the South - recorded for Elektra, Capitol and RCA in the 1970's She released independent gospel albums in the 80's. She wrote #1 Country hits for George Jones “TENNESSEE WHISKEY" and Johnny Rodriquez "JUST GET UP AND CLOSE THE DOOR" as well as the #1 Adult Contemporary Hit for Olivia Newton-John in 1975, "LET IT SHINE" Linda has also written chart hits and award-winning songs for Olivia Newton-John, Lynn Anderson, Marty Robbins, Leon Russell, Michael Nesmith, Ernest Tubb, Tammy Wynette among many others. Diagnosed with leukemia in 1986, Linda underwent an experimental bone marrow transplant in 1990.

When Linda Hargrove arrived in Nashville 39 years ago she was without peer or role model. There were no women playing guitars on sessions, much less master sessions. There were less than a handful of women songwriters. Within a year, Linda was playing on records with A-Team players like Chet Atkins and Grady Martin and having her songs recorded by major recording artists. Linda recorded for 3 major label throughout the 70's, releasing 5 albums and charting a number of singles. She toured extensively with her band throughout the US playing concerts, fairs, festivals and clubs. The Country Music World wasn't ready for a "Redneck Woman" much less a "Blue Jean Country Queen" in the 70's and 80's.

Linda got married in 1980 and made a major change in her career, focusing her music in the gospel and inspirational genre. She released two gospel albums in the 80's. She continued to tour and perform in the U.S and in England.

Linda's career took an even more drastic turn and was literally "put on hold" when she was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in 1986. She was given the prognosis of death within 6 to 8 years, but three years later in 1989 she was told that her death was imminent without intervention. She underwent an experimental bone marrow transplant in 1990 at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. She was the only patient out of 30 others in the study to survive and remains Moffitt's longest surviving transplant patient.

Linda returned to Nashville to resume her career in 1993 only to put it on hold again in 1995 while she took care of her husband, Charlie, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Charlie moved to a nursing home in 1997 and Linda left Nashville in 1999, relocating to Panacea, FL on the Gulf Coast near Tallahassee where she grew up.

While living in Panacea, Linda continued writing and producing, producing other bands and artists, in addition to performing in local venues and recording her own projects. The completion of 'ONE WOMAN'S LIFE" in 2005 - a project Linda started in 1995 - marked a milestone in the miraculous story of this artist/songwriter's career. The self-produced and self-engineered project was the first CD format album she had released in her career. She also co-publishes the Grammy nominated song "COLORS" written by Rocko Heermance and Jimbeau Hinson recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys in 2003.

Linda recently moved to Monroe, LA in NE Louisiana ( October 2008) where she lived at one time during the early 1980s. She continues to create and perform music.

"Add up all the tears
Take away the years
And multiply them by the miles
Then divide them by the trials
And you'll figure out
The sum of ONE WOMAN'S LIFE"