- Audio CD (Nov 4 1997)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Import
- Label: Mercury Nashville
- ASIN: B000001EXP
- Other Editions: Audio Cassette
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
|1. Honky Tonk America|
|2. Shootin' The Bull (In An Old Cowtown)|
|3. One Day Left To Live|
|4. Cotton County Queen|
|6. Labor Of Love|
|7. Thank God You're Gone|
|8. Little Did I Know|
|9. Arms Length Away|
|10. Roamin' Love|
|11. Love Of My Life|
As much as country purists may hate to hear it, today's Southern factory worker, the sort of person who's the backbone of the country audience, is more likely to dance to "Wooly Bully" on a Friday night than to "New San Antonio Rose." Kershaw is part of that core audience and so it's only natural that his Labor of Love reflects as much rock influence as country roots. Only purists would fault Kershaw for adding cannon-shot snare drums and cranked-up guitars to the fiddles and pedal-steel guitar, especially when these backing tracks sound as good as they do. Still, this set, like Kershaw's previous albums, is unfailingly polite. His voice is a marvelous instrument, and it sounds thick and creamy whether it comes out slow and sad, or fast and funny. The songs are all built around clever puns and catchy chorus jingles, but they never go any deeper than that.
On the album's most country-sounding track, "Thank God, You're Gone," Kershaw and his cowriter Mike Fornes describe a romantic break-up with a captivating ballad melody and the usual lyric details. The singer captures the self-pity of the situation in a gorgeous vocal, but he never quite touches the depths of post-break-up despair where anger, regret, and yearning are tangled in an undoable knot. --Geoffrey Himes
But furthermore he's also become his own man now on this album and vocal comparisons with George Jones are long gone.
Keith Stegall's production here allows Sammy to breathe and gives full presence to his voice rather than hiding it with banging drums and guitars. Even on the rockiest of songs here like the title track or Roamin' Love, the singer sings the hell out of the songs.
The last song on this set, Love Of My Life, is a beautifully-written ballad whose lyrics are simple, it must be said, but had the song been more involved lyrically, it would have diminished its impact and meaning.
Sammy also reflects on life in One Day Left To Live, gets cajun with Little Did I Know and all the others songs work perfectly for him. This is just his best record to date.