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.