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The Gambler
Kenny Rogers

United Artists 934
Released: November 1978
Chart Peak: #12
Weeks Charted: 112
Certified Platinum: 2/27/79

Kenny RogersIn one flying leap from his last album, for which he installed himself, at least in the cover photo, as the center of a rented family so wholesome it would make a Norman Rockwell painting look sordid, Kenny Rogers now presents himself as "The Gambler" with another elaborate cover photo and foldout poster. More time and money seem to be spent on Rogers' album covers than on what goes inside them, since this record is still another mealy pancake partially stuck to the griddle. On an on he drones through one folk-type (formula A, version B) song after another for what seems like hours of hummin' and strummin'. There is one grotesque oddity here; called "A Little More Like Me (The Crucifixion)," it's a heavy-handed attempt to update the Gospels, and it's gross beyond belief.

- Peter Reilly, Stereo Review, 4/79.

Kenny Rogers - The Gambler
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This latest outing, which shares the title of Rogers' best selling single, finds the artist in top form. Alternating between pensive ballads and lively upbeat numbers, Rogers has found his niche in country music and proceeds to give it full benefit of his smooth sensitive stylings. Distinctive arrangements with piano, percussion and acoustic guitar combined with cameo backup touches by special guests such as Mickey Newbury, Bill Medley and Tony Joe White give this album a definite pop-flavored appeal. This is one of Rogers' finest LPs to date and a definite crossover contender. Best cuts: "The Gambler," "I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again," "King Of Oak Street," "San Francisco Mabel Joy," "Making Music For Money."

- Billboard, 1978.

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Master of the story song, this crossover country singer brought a new pop-oriented audience to the genre, thanks in good part to this collection's title track, one of the most classic and well-known songs of its time. If occasionally too corny, he still brings tears to your eyes and proves himself a remarkable raconteur -- few wind up folding, in fact, as everyone knows this album is one to hold. * * * *

- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.

Kenny Rogers hit the jackpot with The Gambler, securing a new signature tune, one of his biggest-ever crossover albums and even the start of an acting career.

By the time of its release in November 1978, Rogers was already established as a country music veteran, but these recordings pushed him in front of a whole new audience and placed him among America's Top 20 pop albums for the first time. The album's title track went on to top the Billboard country chart at the end of 1978, reach the pop Top 20, win a Grammy and give birth to a small screen movie of the same name starring Rogers himself.

"She Believes In Me," another country Number One, was an even bigger crossover favourite as it topped America's adult contemporary chart and equalled his then Hot 100 peak of number five. The album lifted him to his highest position at that point of 12 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart in March 1979.

As of 2004, The Gambler was the #39 best-selling album of the 70s.

- Hamish Champ, The 100 Best-Selling Albums of the 70s, 2004.

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