Jimmy Nail: Portsmouth Guildhall, May 12

JIMMY Nail is living proof that you don't need a brilliant voice - or pretty features - to forge a successful career in rock'n'roll.

The actor-turned-singer, who reinvented himself as a country-tinged music star despite being already firmly established in the public imagination as a lumbering Geordie builder in the TV series Auf Wiedersehen Pet, is also a prime example of a TV "name" who has successfully made the leap into another area of entertainment - and somewhat more convincingly than the insipid (if equally housewife-friendly) likes of Robson and Jerome.

Having scored major hits in the early Nineties with Ain't No Doubt and Crocodile Shoes - which followed a successful one-off foray into the charts seven years earlier with a cover of the Rose Royce classic Love Don't Live Here Anymore - Nail's popularity seems to have levelled out in recent years.

But the irrepressible crooner has struck a new record deal with Papillion Records and is currently in the throes of recording an album of eclectic cover versions, provisionally titled, with heavy irony, Ten Great Songs and an Okay Voice.

The tracks that have made it on to the album, having been whittled down from 300 contenders, include Something, Walking on the Moon, House of the Rising Sun and Paul Simon's Loves Me Like a Rock.

To coincide with the release of the album, Nail will be embarking on a 32-date UK tour, with a gig at Portsmouth Guildhall on May 12 (box office: 023 9282 4355).

"I think with this album forming the live show's core, it's going to be the most fun I've had on the road for a long time," says Nail.

"There'll be a little slot with my own songs in the middle, but they'll be surrounded by all these other great songs.

"It'll be a little like joining a covers band for a couple of months - a little like being let off the leash."

* What's On has managed to get hold of two pairs of tickets for Jimmy Nail's Portsmouth gig.

To be in with a chance of winning, just complete the title of the singer's hit 1994 song, Crocodile......

Is it: a) Rock; b) Shoes; c) Tears, or; d) Handbag?

Send your answer, with your name, address and daytime phone number, to: Jimmy Nail Competition, Promotions Dept (What's On), PO Box 543, Southern Daily Echo, Southampton SO16 9ZQ, to arrive by February 9.