Vern Gosdin

Never My Love

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In the mid-'70s Vern Gosdin was approaching the height of his popularity, recording for Elektra with Gary S. Paxton handling the production duties. He was tricked out in a wide lapel suit that approached the perfect disco outfit, with lots of gold jewelry hanging about his neck, and singing a song -- the title track -- more closely associated with Robert Goulet than Hank Williams, with Janie Fricke lilting on the backing vocals and chorus. But it gets weirder: The very next track after "Never My Love" is an overblown, string-laden version of Donovan's "Catch the Wind." Forget countrypolitan, this is schlockopolitan. Even classics like Waylon Jennings' "Anita, You're Dreaming" and John D. Loudermilk's "Break My Mind" are unsalvageable -- which is a real tragedy considering Gosdin's amazing baritone and his ability to move his voice around a song like George Jones can. This recording is an awful mistake in a stellar career from Gosdin. If the listener needs any more proof, have a listen to the country-fried version of Carole Bayer Sager's "When I Need You" as one of the most horrific, overdressed representations of sedate senility ever recorded.

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