Lucky you, KMA Readers! I somehow did an extra review, for this series, so you get two today!
Garth Brooks is huge in modern country music. We all know that. While I tend towards the older stuff when I wanna pull on my boots, Garth still fits the bill – he finely straddles the new directions while respecting the past. And, his fun energy paired with his peerless song-writing makes this a shoe-in.
Released in 1994, this compilation ought to weight two tons – every track here is HUGE.
Wait, 1994? Am I that old? Ah crap.
This copy says Limited Edition on the cover, but I wonder if it was Limited to 10 million Editions, ya know?
And now, the songs:
Ain’t Goin’ Down (Til The Sun Comes Up) isn’t even really that country, so it’s an odd way to to start the disc, in a way. But it is a peppy 12-bar blues rock song that he sings with a twang, so the energy kicks us off with a bang.
Friends In Low Places… I don’t need to say a word about this massive hit. You know it.
Callin’ Baton Rouge is a bit of a hoe-down song. It’s the banjo and fiddle. Still, it has solid energy. Line dancers rejoice!
The River is another one you’ll know. This ong is very lifting. It is a bit smarmy, sure, but the message isn’t diminished. Give ‘er!
Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old) is full-on country, y’all, but even at that it still has a good clip to it. I like this version, but I can’t help hearing Me First And The Gimme Gimme’s version in my head, now.
The Thunder Rolls has always been a huge song for all the reasons you already know. Very, very good song writing, and an absolutely wrenching song.
American Honky-Tonk Bar Association is good old country rock boogie blues. Silly lyrics, fun!
If Tomorrow Never Comes is the perfect, pretty, slow, last dance of the night song.
Unanswered Prayers is another one just like If Tomorrow… Whole lotta God in this one.
Standing Outside the Fire has a cool build and a rousing fiddle line, almost Celtic, with this beat.
Rodeo has a funk to it, with full twang in effect. Maybe it’s the organ line.
What’s She Doing Now is a pretty slower song, country heartbreak and all.
We Shall Be Free has a gentle intro, but quickly builds in an uplifting rousing gospel-feel tune you probably already know.
Papa Loved Mama is as bluesy as country gets, and it has quite a story, too.
Shameless is a cover of the Billy Joel tune, and Garth really makes this one his own. It fits. Of course, I know the Joel version as well, so now there are two solid versions out there!
Two Of A Kind, Workin’ On A Full House is a lot of fun. Makes me laugh every time.
That Summer isn’t one I’d heard before. Don’t ask me why. But I think we all identify with the story. Worthy of inclusion here, for sure.
The Dance is a lovely slow song. You’ll know it when you hear it.
You know, this is a really, really great disc. Strong songs, well-played. 90s country may not be your thing, but if you ever want to try it, with an artist who respects the old stuff while doing it in new and fun ways, find this disc.