“You’ve Never Been This Far Before” by Conway Twitty

Conway Twitty had more Number One hits on the Country charts than anyone else except possibly George Strait, but there’s a reason he’s mostly considered a punchline outside of Country circles. His huge body of output did include some good work…his duets with Loretta Lynn were terrific (although it’s hard to go wrong with a goddess like Lynn as your duet partner), and he had a few good solo recordings, like “It’s Only Make Believe”, “Hello Darlin”, and “She Only Meant To Use Him”. But too much of his work had a slickness and blandness to it that helped bring about the developments of the Pop-Country era by turning Country into Adult Contemporary radio filler. On top of that, his often overtly sexual lyrics generally came across as more sleazy than erotic. This song, one of his signature hits, is a prime offender on both counts, a dull, overly polished ballad with some extremely unfortunate attempts at eroticism (‘as my trembling fingers touch forbidden places’). Twitty certainly had a strong baritone, but he wasn’t the kind of performer who could pull this kind of thing off…it’s almost like hearing your grandfather singing about sex, and the result is uncomfortable and even kind of sickening. This isn’t the worst of Twitty’s signature hits (that would be the embarrassing “Don’t Call Him a Cowboy (until you’ve seen him ride)”), but it perfectly demonstrates everything wrong with his style, and everything that made him both a destructive influence on the genre and a perceived emblem of everything wrong with Country music culture.

Verdict: Not as bad as some of its successors in the field of Pop-Country sleaze, but still pretty bad.

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