April 18, 1988 12:00 PM

Ricky Skaggs

In an uncertain world it’s a welcome reassurance that a few people—Wayne Gretzky, Anne Tyler, Stanley Kubrick, Luciano Pavarotti, Skaggs and that’s about it—can be counted on to maintain a level of true excellence. This loose, happy-sounding country album is another example of Skaggs’s ability to sound folksy, musically sophisticated, gosh-awful optimistic and smart all at the same time. The mix includes the Bob Wills standard San Antonio Rose, Mel Tillis’ I’m Tired, a blissful duet with Mrs. Skaggs, Sharon White, on Home Is Wherever You Are and a spiritual If You Don’t Believe the Bible, to which Sharon, her sister Cheryl and her father, Buck, add some of the nicest harmonies any of us are likely to hear this side of the pearly gates. The closest thing to a disappointment is that unlike Skaggs’s 1986 album, on which James Taylor showed up for a Christmas carol duet, this record packs few surprises. Everybody should have such problems. (Epic)

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