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am 8. Januar 2014
After years of struggling to get anybody in the music business to take him seriously, Toby first made the big time in 1993 with Should've been a cowboy, which was one of the must popular country songs of the nineties, and he has maintained a consistently high level of success since, up to the release of this compilation. He knows, as all singers do, that success with new material won't last forever, but you can be sure that he'll be trying to keep his career going for as long as possible.
The compilation title wasn't entirely accurate even at the time of release, but it contains all the hits that matter from the period 1993 to 2006. This includes the big hits from his first album on Toby's own label, Show Dog Nashville, which was titled White trash with money. Although this compilation dates from 2008, it doesn't contain any of his big hits from his 2007 album, Big Dog Daddy, which is fair enough as the album was his current original album at the time. As seems to be the custom with hits compilations by current performers these days, Toby recorded one song, She's a hottie, specially for the compilation. Released as a single, it made the country top twenty.
Three duets are included here, these being I'm so happy I can't stop crying (with Sting, whose musical tastes appear to be very eclectic, though he also recorded a duet with Tammy Wynette, so he enjoys some country music) , Mockingbird (with his daughter, this is a cover of the classic pop song written and first recorded by Charlie and Inez Foxx, but which is more famous via the Carly Simon and James Taylor cover) and Beer for my horses (with Willie Nelson). Of these, Mockingbird was only a modest country hit (though I think it deserved to be a big hit) but the other two were both huge hits. Toby has also recorded duets with other singers including the Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffett, but those recordings are outside the scope of this hits compilation.
Toby was very successful during the early part of his career when he recorded for Mercury. Following his debut success with Should've been a cowboy, he had many other big hits, my favorites among them being (in the order in which they were released, which isn't my order of preference) A little less talk and a lot more action, Wish I didn't know now, Who's that man, You ain't much fun, A woman's touch Does that blue moon ever shine on you and Me too, though I love all the other songs too. Having bought the earlier Greatest hits volume 1, I had these songs already, but for one reason or another, I never bought any of Toby's other music, apart from his first Christmas album (filled with original material), until I bought this compilation. With the exception of one minor hit that wasn`t successful enough to merit inclusion here, If a man answers, all the tracks from that compilation are to be found here.
It seemed that Toby's career was beginning to fade when he switched to Dreamworks in 1998. That was a good move, because during his years with that label he became even more successful than he had ever been before.
During his Dreamworks years, Toby became known for his political views although I'm not clear whether this was because he started recording political songs, or whether he made his political views clear before he started recording those songs. One of the most controversial songs was Courtesy of the red white and blue, which ultimately started some bad feelings between Toby and the Dixie Chicks. Natalie Maines once wore a T-shirt emblazoned with an acronym that she said stood for Friends United in Truth and Kindness, but few people believed her claim even before she eventually admitted what everybody had concluded anyway.
Of his solo hits on Dreamworks, my favorites include (in the order in which they were released, which isn't my order of preference) How do you like me now?, My list, I love this bar, Whiskey girl, As good as I once was and Big blue note. But as with his earlier Mercury hits, Toby had so many great songs that your favorites may be among the songs I haven't mentioned.
Toby sings great songs, many of which he wrote or co-wrote, though he's happy to record original songs written by others as well as the occasional cover. Toby's gritty voice may not appeal to everybody, but it is a real country voice so it's no surprise that he is popular among country fans. Every country fan should have at least one Toby Keith album. If you only want one collection of Toby's music, this is the one to buy, containing as it does all his big hits from 1993 to 2006.