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ANOTHER BATCH OF GREAT TWITTY GRIT

His voice and body have both grown husky, his stage-show looks dated and overdone and he seems to get his outfits from Frederick's of Nashville.

Yet at every concert hundreds of middle-aged women flock to the stage to photograph, touch and gawk at the man. His albums sell in the millions and everything he touches turns to gold.There is an answer for it all, of course. And, in frankness, the answer is sex.

My guess is women in their 50s look at young turks like Dwight Yoakam and George Strait and realize that in the best of all possible worlds they might not still have a realistic shot at such dudes. But Conway Twitty, well, now there's a man that a woman just might get to know.

The man's been around the block.

He knows love from the other side of 50.

Naturally, Twitty plays right into their hands. Songs such as "I Want to Lay You Down," "(You Need a Lover with a) Slow Hand" and "I Want to Know You Before We Make Love" feed the fantasies and fuel his career. At this writing the singer has 75 country hits to his credit and has been named a Country Music Living Legend by the Music City News.

This new album collects the most recent batch of Twitty grit. Some of the songs, such as the somber "She's Got a Single Thing in Mind" are classic Nashville formula numbers. Some seem to have been written on a synthesizer - by another synthesizer. But a few tunes - the heart-wrenching "That's My Job" and the Dewayne Blackwell-Larry Bastian story song "Saturday Night Special" - are so good they're probably too good for a guy who's built a career on seamy, hot-house sex.

On the other hand, anyone who's heard Twitty in an interview knows that beneath the puffy hair and lounge-lizard outfits, he's really quite a genuine and generous soul. His act might be canned, his songs manipulative, but his personality is warm, humorous and even wise.

Go figure.

"When that guy's out on the dance floor with his girl and he wants to say something to her but he doesn't know what, I want to be the guy who says it for him," Twitty says.

He means it. And with this most recent collection of Conway Twitty croon-tunes, that dancing cowboy should have plenty to say to the girl for weeks to come.