August 15, 1988 12:00 PM

Jimmie Dale Gilmore

He has a scrawny, birdlike look. His voice is nasal, twangy and thin. If he has “pop star” written all over him, it’s not in any place anybody can see it. But don’t start thinking of finding him a job pumping gas or bagging groceries. Think instead of Hank Williams and Buddy Holly. Gilmore, 42, is West Texas-born and no neophyte. He has been playing in Austin and various other Texas locales for 15 years. This, however, is his first record under his own name. Produced by fellow Texan (and high school pal) Joe Ely, who has worked with such people as Linda Ronstadt and the Clash, it suggests a kind of neorockabilly form, with Gilmore’s and David Halley’s guitars and Linda Shaw’s bass forming the core of a small but efficient rhythmic band. Lloyd Maines sits in occasionally on steel guitar and dobro. The colorful, pungent songs include Halley’s Rain Just Falls, Gilmore’s Don’t Look for a Heartache and Butch Hancock’s delightful composition about a fellow who has just been put in his place, Just a Wave, Not the Water: “I would’ve killed myself/ But it made no sense/ Committing suicide/ In self-defense.” The best part about Gilmore is that he’s not a hard discovery to make. This record grows on you, true. But that’s only after it sounds terrific in the first place. (Hightone, P.O. Box 326, Alameda, Calif. 94501)

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