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Tracy Byrd

Big Love – 1996 (MCA)

Reviewed by Eric Zehnbauer

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CDs by Tracy Byrd

On his fourth, album Tracy Byrd shows some real promise of breaking away from the "hat act" pack and establishing himself as a bona fide star of the younger generation of country singers.

However, he still comes up just short of the mark.

There's plenty to like about Byrd - he's got a buttery smooth baritone voice, shows adeptness at a variety of styles, and sings with feeling, or at least makes the listener believe so. He especially shines as a romantic balladeer, on tunes such as "I Love You, That's All. "

However, for all the good musical choices on this album, there's also a number of misfires. Byrd needs to pick more quality songs like the great cover of Johnny Paycheck's "Don't Take Her, She's All I've Got" and fewer simplistic, corny tunes like "Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine."

Although the cutesy lyrics threaten to brand "Cowgirl" as a novelty tune, it's got a good western swing style that redeems it and guarantees it to be a hit with the dance hall crowd. But for uptempo dance numbers, "Driving Me Out of Your Mind" is a far superior tune.

A surprising departure is "I Don't Believe That's How You Feel," reminiscent of Marty Robbins, with its Mexican mariachi style instrumentation.

Give Byrd an "A" for effort and for musical influences, a "C" for song choices. While not outstanding, this album is recommended.