Marie Osmond

First published in Country Music People, May 1974

Young Marie Osmond, the only girl in the family of eight brothers, was sure to become involved in a musical career eventually, the only question was in which way would she head. She grew up in musical surroundings. Her brothers have been a singing group for more than fifteen years, being involved in many facets of show business. They began as a class group, but as the younger members of the family gradually slipped into the group, novelty replaced the quality of songs. Throughout though, the boys had astute guidance from their parents and it has shown in their wise choice of material, much of which has been culled from past hits, many originally made before the boys were born.

Early last year Marie Osmond expressed a deep love for country music, and so it was decided to record her in Nashville, without any assistance from her famous brothers. The plan was to achieve a sound and style totally removed from The Osmond Brothers style, and the only way to get this was for Marie to do it her own way. The result has been one mammoth hit with Paper Roses and an album that is both a credit to Nashville and to Marie Osmond.
The production of the album was handled by Sonny James, a country singer who has been making hits for close on twenty years and was also a child protege back in the 1940s. It’s no coincidence that it was Sonny who made the original hit of Young Love, a song now synonymous with The Osmonds, and his easy-on-the-ear, middle of the road approach to country music was just what Marie needed to succeed.

She doesn;t really possess a natural voice for country music, but she more than makes up for this with her enthusiasm and feel for the music. You can tell that Marie has listened to country music. It’s the kind of music that though simple to sing, can turn out maudlin with the wrong treatment. Many of the songs are well known to country audiences, and I think that many will agree that Marie has breathed new life into old favourites like Sweet Dreams and Fool No. 1.

She really excels on Louisiana Bayou, a new song specially written by Sonny James for the album. It really swings along, features some fantastic harmonica playing by Charlie McCoy, and shows that country music can be exciting and commercial. It you shudder every time you hear Paper Roses, take heart, it’s the worst track on the whole album, obviously it was recorded for its nostalgic and commercial values. The majority of the Osmond hits have been up-dated versions of well-known past hits, this was the idea behind Paper Roses, a pop song easily adaptable to a Country styling.

Paper Roses could turn out to be a one-off hit, but I believe that Marie Osmond has the talent to be a top singing star for many years to come. The people behind her seem to realise her capabilities and they have carefully kept her from straying into something that she cannot handle. As a country singer she could have a great future in front of her, but I wonder if her family will allow her to keep to the limitations of one style.

It is possible that they may try to mould her into an all-round singer. Already she is being hailed as the new Connie Francis. I hope that in a way Marie will be allowed to continue her career with the music she loves. Then she could make the grade as a country singer, and not be referred to as a freak pop singer who made a good country album.