October 07, 1985 12:00 PM

Barbara Mandrell

Mandrell’s first album since her September 1984 auto accident shows no ill effects from the devastating head-on crash. (The driver of the other car was killed; Mandrell, who suffered a broken leg, lacerated knee and concussion, and her two children, who sustained minor injuries, had buckled their seat belts only minutes before the collision.) She can wander pretty far afield for a woman who is supposed to be a country singer. I’m a Believer, the Neil Diamond song that was a 1966 hit for the Monkees, comes out as straight-ahead pop, and For Your Love could have been recorded by a lot of black R&B singers. What makes these two tunes brightly entertaining instead of impertinent is that Mandrell has the vocal flexibility to dabble. Since she never sounds too down-home, even at her countriest, she can moonlight a little without wrenching herself or the music all out of shape. On the more predictable tracks, such as Fast Lanes and Country Roads, Angel in Your Arms or her brother-in-law R.C. Ban-non’s If They Grow Tired of My Music, she can turn on the just-folks shadings and still sound perfectly comfortable. It would probably be just as well if she didn’t try Aïda or any duets with Mötley Crüe, but Mandrell possesses the kind of musicianship that lets her be herself, whatever she is singing. (MCA)

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