It seems that Sony BMG's Country series is designed to provide a well-rounded introduction to noteworthy artists from the genre who've had not merely successful careers, but exemplary ones. In some cases, these volumes represent the truly iconic. Such is the case with this set by the late Vern Gosdin. Gosdin scored his share of hits in the late '70s, '80s and even the early '90s, and kept recording until his death in 2009. His name may not be as recognizable as Willie Nelson's or George Jones', but it is just as formidable. That sweet baritone could carry ballads ("Slow Burnin' Memory"), honky tonk strutters ("I Can Tell by the Way You Dance"), and bluesy roots country ("Who You Gonna Blame It On This Time?") with a grain that carried in it both the tough and the tender. But in each song he delivered, a profound vulnerability let itself shine through. As a vocalist, he was eternally bloodied but unbowed, always willing to go the extra mile to reveal empathy for both his protagonists and their lovers or betrayers. This is true strength. This ten-song collection offers a beautifully well rounded portrait -- at a budget price -- of an artist who deserves far more than he ever got, but who country music producers, artists, and hardcore country music fans will never forget.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek