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All I Intended to Be

145 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 10, 2008

Editorial Reviews

The album displays Emmylou's ability to bring new life to songs that may have been overlooked, forgotten or lost along the way. Emmylou Harris assembles an extraordinary cast of longtime friends who are veteran musicians and fellow singers for a set that indeed showcases as all she has intended to be - a singularly expressive vocalist, a brilliant interpreter of other people's songs, a graceful and confident songwriter. Some of the most affecting material is the least well-known such as John Wesley Routh's Celtic/Country "Shores Of White Sands" and trucker-poet Michael Germino's heartrending story-song, "Broken Man's Lament." Harris has chosen these songs with conceptual care.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 10, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: n/a
  • ASIN: B001APFIN8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,641,462 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

234 of 248 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Until very recently, no one expected something "new" from an artist. He/she did what he/she did, and, over time, with work and talent and increasing mastery, the art got better and better. But it didn't get "different" and there was no expectation of novelty --- no one wrote about "Bleak House" that Dickens had failed to make a stylistic leap over "David Copperfield".

Emmylou Harris is an Old School musician in many ways, but especially in this --- she's plowed the same field for almost all her career. There have been modest detours, but nothing requiring her to change her hair or buy a drum machine. She just sings American Roots music, straight ahead and unadorned.

American Roots music isn't country, pop or rock, though it's not ashamed to borrow from those styles. It's not bluegrass, gospel, folk or Cajun, though there are elements. To its practitioners, it's the authentic heart of the heartland, songs that could only come from here, sounds that remind us who we are. Soul music, if you will.

Emmylou Harris is the high priestess of this music, and on her 21st release she does it as well as anyone ever will. To those who do not worship at her shrine or listen only casually to her music, it may sound like just another Emmylou Harris record: that exquisite voice, evocative lyrics, flawless instrumentation and angelic harmonies. Yes, it is, and "Great Expectations" is just another Dickens novel.

In today's lost and destructive music business, it takes ferocious courage and massive self-assurance to put out a record of quiet beauty and then to put a title like "All I Intended to Be" on it.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Oz Wizard on August 26, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Once again I feel compelled to comment on Emmylou's music. When I first saw this disk I read various reviews here whining that this album is a "downer" and the like. I smiled to myself and bought it without a second thought. I would have bought it no matter what the reviews said. Yes, Emmylou sings about pain, but she also sings about redemption and perseverance, the dawn that follows the darkness. Anyway, what price do you put on music that brings tears to your eyes?

But I am writing just to comment on one track from this disk. "All That You Have Is Your Soul", a song that did not grab me when I heard the author's version two decades ago, is rescued here and made Emmylou's own. The song includes the lines: "hunger only for a taste of justice, hunger only for a world of truth." The depth of longing in the "hunger only", the slight hush of reverence in "justice" and "truth". Those lines, at this time, in that voice... Whatever I might think of the tracks on this album, and my opinion varies, those few seconds are worth the price of the album to me, and I would not be without it.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on August 4, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Emmylou Harris may be so good, she is at her penultimate for most of her career. I admit, I enjoy her soulful voice and spare orchestrations so much that I really cannot claim to have a favorite CD from her releases.

This 2008 release was produced by her former husband, Bruce Ahern. You'll hear old friends on this CD, including Dolly Parton (backup on "Gold") and Buddy Miller. The 'songfinder' has snagged some great music, too, from the likes of Tracy Chapman and Kate McGarrigle.

"Broken Man's Lament" talks about not messing with someone else's dreams. When the subject married a bar singer, he asked her not to sing.

"Gold" talks about the human failings in all of us:

"no matter how bright I glitter, baby, I can never be gold"

Probably my favorite song of this collection is "All that you have is your soul" by Tracy Chapman. This song contains some of the best life advice you can get.

In this case, I think a lot of this CD was gold as soon as it was released.

Rebecca Kyle, August 2008
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Burack on April 21, 2010
Format: Audio CD
After listening over and over to this album, and to her "Stumble Into Grace" album as well, I did something I have never done and never, ever contemplated doing. I wrote to Emmylou to thank her. Beth, my wife of 30 years, a partner and soul mate in every possible sense imaginable, passed away a little time ago. Music has carried me through the ordeal of her departure these past weeks, and during this time, these two albums by Emmylou Harris rose to crowd out all the other music I started listening to.

I like "All that You Have is Your Soul" somewhat, which others here have singled out. But to me it is a bit too remote and programmatic and does not do what most of the rest of these songs do for me -- which is cut down deep to the bone. There are four in particular that cover every possible thought about loss and death I have struggled with. "Take That Ride" -- directed to a "you" that at first you may assume is a man in her life, but is in fact God ("One of these days I'm gonna take that ride. There may be nothing on the other side."); "Not Enough" -- as in even a lifetime would not be enough to have back with the partner she has lost (or mine); "Sailing Round the Room" and "Beyond the Great Divide." Together, it's all therapy, or prayer, or something, and it blows me away.

I agree with those who did not like the "maudlin" characterization of this album. I do not need nor want maudlin. This album is tough as nails.
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Can you recommend a traditional country cd from Emmylou, please?
Quartermoon in a ten cent town
Jun 5, 2010 by Penny G. Viator |  See all 9 posts
Emmylou Harris- All I Intended to Be
Emmy's latest releases have taken a few listens for me to warm up to. I was raised on Emmylou and have to say I much prefer her work from Pieces of the Sky through Cowgirl's Prayer. Wrecking Ball caught me off gaurd but then I was able to appreciate the different direction she was taking with her... Read More
May 8, 2008 by Gregory Williams |  See all 12 posts
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