Toby Keith - 35
Downs, CSO Contributing Journalist
The latest offering from Toby Keith is a 2-CD Collection called '35 Biggest Hits.' It is released on the Show Dog label and distributed by Universal Music Enterprises. It covers Keith's entire career up to last year's 'Big Dog Daddy' album. I find these hits albums very interesting to listen to as you can follow the artist development and really see the various changes and vocal growth they go through. For Keith, he had a very strong start and the bar was set high for future projects. Sometimes that puts a lot of pressure on an artist, but Keith took it all in stride and keeps moving forward in a big way.
It kicks off with "Should've Been A Cowboy" from his 1993 self titled debut album. Right at the start he had songs you still hear on the radio today like "He Ain't Worth Missing" and "A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action." He continued the winning streak through 1994's 'Boomtown' with hits like "Who's That Man," Upstairs Downtown," "Big Ol' Truck" and "You Ain't Much Fun." What I liked about these early albums was the strong classic honky tonk sound. He found a moodier sound with 1996's 'Blue Moon' and 1997's 'Dream Walkin'.' These albums generated hits like "Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine on You," "A Woman's Touch," "Me Too," "We Were in Love," "I'm so Happy I can't Stop Crying" and "Dream Walkin'." These songs seemed to show a more sensitive side of Keith.
"Getcha Some" on 1998's 'Greatest Hits Volume One' album seemed to herald the start of a variety of musical styles and a departure from his honky tonk sound. "Getcha Some" was a fun lyrical journey and had a style far different from anything he had had to that point. As he asked "How Do You Like Me Now" on his 1999 album of the same name , it was once again a different style for him. Now he had found some attitude and it carried through in songs like "I Wanna Talk About Me" from 2001's 'Pull My Chain' album and "Who's Your Daddy" from 'Unleashed' in 2002.
He became known for his love of family and country with songs like "My List," and "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)." 'Shock'n Y'All' from 2003 had a mix of different sounds. "American Soldier" was a great patriotic song. "I Love This Bar" and "Whiskey Girl" started taking him back to his honkey tonk roots. 'White Trash With Money' in 2006 gave us songs like "Get Drunk and Be Somebody" and "A Little Too Late."
You'll find most of your favorite Toby Keith songs within the 35 tracks. It even includes the duet with Willie Nelson, "Beer for my Horses" and the duet with his daughter Krystal Keith, "Mockingbird." He's put out an album a year for the most part and that alone says a lot about his talent and staying power in the business. He's also an accomplished writer and his name is on the credits for all but six of the 35 tracks. This is a fun album to pop in for a road trip or while you are cleaning the house.
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