Picks and Pans Review: '80s Ladies

updated 06/29/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/29/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

K.T. Oslin

An inspiration to late bloomers everywhere, Oslin is, at 45, just releasing her first album, and it is as wryly funny, tuneful and all-around enjoyable as country music gets. Oslin (the K.T. is for Kay Toinette) has been around music since her mother sang with the Les Brown band. Daughter has sung in the chorus of a Hello Dolly road company, worked backup for Guy Clark, written tunes recorded by Gail Davies and Dottie West and done jingles. Then one day she said, "Oh, my God, I'm gonna die, and the only thing I'll be remembered for is a hemorrhoid commercial." Her voice has a pungent appeal and her songwriting reflects a Kristofferson-like blend of the cynical and romantic. In Do Ya, for instance, she sings, "Do you miss me when I'm gone/ But sometimes wish that I'd stay gone just a little bit longer." In '80s Ladies she reminisces about her youth in the '50s, when her two best friends were pretty and smart and she was "a borderline fool"; now the one's still pretty and the other's still smart and "me, I cross the border every chance I get." Younger Men, which Oslin released in 1982 as a single, is a variation on the older woman-younger man theme, beginning: "Women peak at 40, men at 19/ I remember laughing my head off when I read that in a magazine/ (I was 20 at the time)." Such wit and insight are blended with a succession of musical and rhythmic hooks, from the bluesy Dr. Dr. to the nostalgic Old Pictures, previously recorded by the Judds. Producer Harold Shedd provided Oslin with a first-class studio band and a bright sound. To do any less would have been an injustice to an extraordinarily engaging performer. (RCA)

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