Vern Gosdin

Till the End

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Although Till the End was Vern Gosdin's solo debut, the opening track "Hangin' On" instantly re-establishes the artist as "The Voice" via a remake of the 1967 Grammy-nominated hit by the Gosdin Brothers' -- Vern and brother Rex. Instigated by pop-music impresario Gary Paxton -- owner of the Gosdin Brothers' former record label, Vern cut demos of "Hangin' On" and the ballad "Yesterday's Gone." These came to the attention of Emmylou Harris, who had known Gosdin on a social, but not professional level. Her vocal contributions to both were substantial enough to score Gosdin a deal with the Nashville branch of Elektra Records. As this album attests, the results were uniformly strong and unanimously lauded as the long-player yielded the U.S. Country Top 40 singles "Mother Country Music," "It Started All Over Again" featuring Janie Fricke, the aforementioned "Hangin' On" and "Yesterday's Gone" with Emmylou Harris, as well as the title track "'Till the End." Plus, not only did half of the ten-song platter -- via five Top 40 Country singles -- make it onto the charts, the entire effort would garner a deserved spot in the Top Ten LP survey. Considering the upscale countrypolitan hybrid that began to flood the sounds coming out of Nashville during the late '70s, it is little wonder why Gosdin is an icon of the genre. In fact, even the tunes relegated to the B-sides and deep cuts are truly exceptional. The Harlan Howard-penned "Chokin' Kind" earns its place beside the likes of Waylon Jennings and Freddy Fender's versions, with the smooth delivery heard here leaning towards Joe Simon and Allen Toussaint's respectively soulful '60s interpretations. To the same end, the rich sonorous delivery of Ewan MacColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" is as striking in its simplicity as it is heartfelt in sentiment. Till the End firmly cemented the triumphant return of Vern Gosdin, whose run on Elektra continued, ultimately producing another two albums in as many years.

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