Tompall Glaser

Nights on the Borderline

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Four years after the final Glaser Brothers record, After All These Years, Tompall Glaser signed with Dot and released Nights on the Borderline, an album that has turned out to be his last properly released album. It's not a particularly distinguished way to go out. Tompall may have been the quintessential outlaw -- at the very least, he never tired of labeling himself as an outlaw during the height of outlaw country -- but he always had a strange tendency where his records reflected the sound of the times, whether he was singing grandly orchestrated progressive country-folk with his brothers at the end of the '60s, laying down some earthy country grooves in the mid-'70s, or delving into smooth country-pop in the early '80s when he reunited with his siblings. Here, he succumbs to the crisp, clean sound of the mid-'80s, surrounding himself with echoey, gated drums, synthesized pianos, and guitars plugged straight into the deck, so they're sharp and brittle. Tompall himself is in fine vocal form but he doesn't have too many great songs -- sometimes he has some downright terrible ones, like the stiff country-disco of "I Don't Care Anymore," but he more or less has a bunch of forgettable ones. Which leaves only two memorable tunes: new versions of his biggest hits, "Streets of Baltimore" and "Put Another Log on the Fire," whose presence only illustrates the gap between this lackluster LP and his best work.

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