Ken Tucker
June 25, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

I Fell in Love

Current Status
In Season
Carlene Carter
Reprise Records

We gave it an A

In 1990, I Fell in Love established Carlene Carter as a country star after a couple of decades spent making rock & roll, rockabilly, country-rock-just about every combination except the hard-core country music that the daughter of June Carter Cash and granddaughter of Maybelle Carter would seem born to make. Little Love Letters arrives as a shrewd mixture of Carter’s past and present. It includes the tart twang of cuts like ”I Love You Cause I Want To,” which places her squarely among contemporary country hit makers like Mary Stuart and Patty Loveless. But it also highlights one of her greatest charms: She can’t leave that rock & roll alone-as in the raucously boppy single ”Every Little Thing,” which could have come straight from the late-’70s period she spent making tough albums with Dave Edmunds and ex-hubby Nick Lowe. There are times when you wonder when Carter will move beyond the clever ditties that have brought her this far. As a much-married mom who must at times have felt her country heritage as a burden, Carter would seem to have deeper thoughts to ponder in her music-she has, after all, named her music- publishing company Tortured Artist Tunes. Still, there’s no denying that Carter’s witty yelp-yodel-and-yell of a style has yielded some awfully catchy music. B+ -Ken Tucker

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