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Aaron Tippin

Now and Then – 2006 (Rust Nashville)

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

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CDs by Aaron Tippin

Fifteen years after his debut, Tippin reintroduces himself with 3 new songs and 10 re-recordings of his own hits. Among the new tunes, "Ready to Rock (in a Country Kinda Way)" is a southern rocker that tips its hat to Hank Jr., while "Could Not Stop Myself" and "He Believed" mix strong vocals with upbeat, electric guitar-bass-and-drum and touches of fiddle and banjo. The productions sound fuller than Tippin's 1990s recordings, but with the same muscular power.

Fans who already own the originals of blue-collar anthems like "Honkytonk Superman" and "Working Man's Ph.D." may wonder if they need these remakes, and the answer is: not really. Tippin's in fine voice, but other than his spoken-word introductions (irritatingly banded at the end of the preceding track), there's nothing revelatory about these new versions.

With Tippin's rowdy country-rock sound having resurfaced on country radio in the past few years, his original hits still sound quite contemporary. This leaves these remakes to compete directly with his readily available legacy. It's great to hear Tippin again, but it'd be greater to hear him sing an album's worth of fresh material.