My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Tag Archives: Leon Everette

Classic Rewind: Leon Everette – ‘Just Give Me What You Think Is Fair’

Classic Rewind: Leon Everette – ‘Just Give Me What You Think Is Fair’

Album Review: Vern Gosdin – ‘Today My World Slipped Away’

After his third and final Elektra release, 1979’s You’ve Got Somebody, Vern Gosdin’s career entered a phase that saw him recording for a variety of independent labels, which lasted until 1988 when he returned to the majors after signing with Columbia. During the interim, he released five studio albums and several singles which performed reasonably well on the charts considering that he didn’t have a powerhouse label to promote him.

Today My World Slipped Away was released by AMI Records in 1982. The three year gap since his prior album was an eternity by early 80s standards. However, it should be noted that he had two singles on the charts in 1981, both of which appear on this album. “Too Long Gone”, which peaked at #28 and “Dream of Me”, which reached #7 had both been released by Ovation Records, which ceased operations in late 1981. Vern then moved to AMI, which seems to have acquired the rights to his Ovation recordings. In total, Today My World Slipped Away contains five singles, which was highly unusual for a 1980s country album. His first two AMI releases “Don’t Ever Leave Me Again” and “Your Bedroom Eyes” failed to crack the Top 20, but the fifth and final single, the magnificent title track, performed much better, landing at #10. “Today My World Slipped Away”, which Vern wrote with Mark Wright, is my all-time favorite Vern Gosdin song. It deserved to chart much higher, and I believe it would have reached at least the Top 5 if it had been released by a major label. Fifteen years later, George Strait would take the song all the way to #3.

In addition to the five singles, the album contains Vern’s recording of “Just Give Me What You Think Is Fair”, which was a Top 10 hit for Leon Everette that same year.

The Urban Cowboy movement still had country music in a headlock in 1982, but Today My World Slipped Away is very much an exception. Though still highly polished, it’s a lot less slickly produced and less “Nashville Sound” than Vern’s earlier work for Elektra. Though not as organic as the music Ricky Skaggs was releasing at the time, it is similar in style to George Strait’s work from that era, and as such, it foreshadows the New Traditionalist era which would be ushered in a few years later.

Aside from the title track, it’s difficult to pick out favorite songs from this album because they are all excellent. The production is a bit dated in spots, but not to extent as Vern’s Elektra albums. It is a stronger effort than any of his previous releases, and overall it has aged well. It was Vern’s only album for AMI, and unfortunately it is out of print today, although most of the tracks are available on other compilations. If you do manage to find it, grab it because it is well worth having.

Grade: A

Favorite country songs of the 1980s, Part 1

The 1980s were a mixed bag, with the early 1980s producing some of the lamest country music ever recorded, as the Urban Cowboy movie wrecked havoc on the genre. Fortunately, there was still good country music being released. The first flowering of the late 1980s “New Traditionalist” movement arrived in 1981 with the first hits of Ricky Skaggs and George Strait, but they remained outliers until 1986 as far as good new artists were concerned. The latter part of the decade, however, produced some truly excellent country music with the 1986 arrival of Randy Travis and company.

This list is meant neither to be a comprehensive list of great country songs from the 1980s, nor any sort of ranking of records. It’s just a list of some songs that I liked and remember. See if you recall any of these records.

If You’re Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band)“ – Alabama
Alabama made excellent music during the 1980s, although the country content of some of it was suspect. Not this song, which is dominated by fiddle. One of the few up-tempo Alabama records that swings rather than rocks.

I’ve Been Wrong Before” – Deborah Allen
An accomplished songwriter who wrote many hits for others, particularly with Rafe VanHoy, this was one of three top ten tunes for Ms. Allen, reaching #2 in 1984. This is much more country sounding than her other big hit “Baby I Lied”.

Last of The Silver Screen Cowboys” – Rex Allen Jr.
After some success as a pop-country balladeer, Rex Jr. turned increasing to western-themed material as the 1980s rolled along. This was not a big hit, reaching #43 in 1982, but it featured legendary music/film stars Roy Rogers and Rex Allen Sr. on backing vocals.

“Southern Fried” – Bill Anderson
This was Whispering Bill’s first release for Southern Tracks after spending over twenty years recording for Decca/MCA. Bill was no longer a chart force and this song only reached #42 in 1982, but as the chorus notes: “We like Richard Petty, Conway Twitty and the Charlie Daniels Band”.

Indeed we do. Read more of this post