Picks and Pans Review: Nickels and Dimes and Love

updated 05/10/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/10/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Vera Gosdin

Wherever there-and-back is, country singer Gosdin knows the place. At 58, he has been through bypass surgery and more record labels than most people have shirts. He sang gospel in Alabama in the '50s and country-rock in California in the '60s. He has quit the music business at least once, seen marriages go sour on him twice, and if his careworn, husky voice shows every misstep and every mile, well, that only makes it better.

Gosdin can sing an up-tempo song just fine, but his stock-in-trade is sadness. Hurt pours from him like water from a backyard pump. Young Nashville singers could get a fine lesson in old-time country pathos from listening to this album's "What Are We Gonna Do About Me," a little boy's plaintive query to his Splitsville-headed parents, or the utterly bereft "Any Old Miracle."

The only country singer recording today who can set up your heart and knock it down with more ease is George Jones, and even the Ol' Possum is sounding suspiciously frisky these days. Stay blue, Vern, we need you that way. (Columbia)

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