January 13, 1997 12:00 PM

Al Anderson

The gas station reference in this CD’s title is appropriate because Anderson will remind you of your auto mechanic. He may not be the flashiest of guys, but he knows how to tinker around and get the job done. This third solo album from the former NRBQ singer and songwriter purrs along smoothly, showcasing country-fried rock that twangs like Merle Haggard and also pounds the floor with rocking melodies. It’s no surprise that the first tune, the lively “No Place in History,” was cowritten with John Hiatt, because Anderson’s music is more than a little like Hiatt’s. From the bounce of “Bang Bang Bang” to the jangle of “It Came from the South,” Pay Before You Pump is a pleasant little surprise that never breaks down. (Imprint)

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